Speaking at the 16th Oil Trading and Logistics Expo in Lagos with the theme: “Regulating Downstream Energy Transition in Dynamic Times”, Abdul-Hamid said the completion of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery project would be a breakthrough for the West African region which has for a long time depended on importation of petroleum products.
According to him, Ghana is presently facing the challenge of continuous rise in the cost of petroleum products, adding that getting importers to turn their attention towards Nigeria, rather than going all the way to the Netherlands for petroleum products importation, would help his country stem the tide of a continuous increase in the price of fuel.
He stated: “The Dangote Petroleum Refinery will have a huge impact on Ghana’s downstream sector. Right now, Ghana’s downstream industry is completely deregulated. There is no petrol subsidy in Ghana. For a deregulated market where the importers recover their costs fully, importing from Nigeria will certainly be more cost-effective and cheaper than importing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands where we get the bulk of our fuel in Ghana.
“As we all know, the price builds up for a liter of fuel will include the cost of shipment, transportation, insurance, and others, but if we are importing from Nigeria into Ghana, this will bring down the cost of fuel in our country. Ghanaians are very excited about the prospect of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery. Ghana had in the past built a good relationship where we get petroleum products from Nigeria at a reasonable and more affordable cost. I believe that the coming onstream of Dangote Petroleum Refinery will further strengthen the existing relationship between Nigeria and Ghana.”
Abdul-Hamid said the Ghanaian government was also developing a 60-billion-dollar petroleum hub project on 20,000 acres in the western part of the country for storage and marine facilities.
“All the above-mentioned projects will help accelerate the petroleum hub, consisting of refineries, and petrochemical development of the continent’s oil and gas resources, by connecting the downstream to the upstream. It will promote cleaner fossil fuels and biofuels as the pathway to a just energy transition. Gas has been accepted as the transition fuel because gas is the least carbon-emitting fossil fuel”, he added.
Speaking also at the event, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria, Gabriel Aduda said deregulation would increase transparency in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. He said full deregulation would also create healthy competition among investors.
Aduda, who was represented by Mr. Augustine Okwudiafor, the Deputy Director, of Downstream Department, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, noted that deregulation would give business guarantees to potential investors at the stage of conceptualisation. According to him, deregulation would significantly reduce, if not eradicate completely, the diversion and smuggling of petroleum products across Nigerian borders.
“All hands are on deck towards full deregulation of the downstream sector, as this will ensure commercialisation and liberalisation of the sector. It will also increase investment opportunities, create more jobs and promote a seamless energy transition. All these measures and many more will cushion the projected impact of downstream sector deregulation on consumers and the economy at large,” he said.
He further said data was key in the Oil and Gas Industry, and that any reliable and accurate data would give investors a certain level of assurance.
“Hence, the government is keen and determined to harmonise all downstream data across the relevant agencies and parastatals to eradicate data variations. The government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, its agencies, and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, is considering enhanced technologies. They include Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor and gather downstream data for effective policy formulation and investment guidance,” he said.
Aduda emphasised that oil also had a place in the energy transition space in the sense that oil could be made cleaner through the development and use of appropriate technologies. He said moving the downstream sector forward to that enviable position required collaborative efforts from all stakeholders. “I challenge you all to come along to move the downstream sector towards achieving the downstream we could all be proud of,” he added.