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BUSINESS: Dangote Reassures On Commencement Of Petrol Production July

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Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has confirmed that the Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals company will begin producing petrol this month, as previously pledged.

During a site visit by S&P Global, Edwin reiterated that the refinery, located in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, will start production in July, leveraging Africa’s rich crude oil resources to produce refined products locally.

This initiative aims to stimulate industrial growth, create jobs, and foster economic prosperity, marking a significant milestone in the company’s mission to drive economic development.

Edwin also noted that products from the $20 billion facility are of high quality and meet international standards, saying that it can meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s demand for petrol, diesel, kerosene, and aviation Jet, with surpluses available for export.

On its part, International financial analytics corporation, S&P Global, described the 650,000 barrels per day refinery as capable of resolving Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) issue, and its huge pressure on the local Naira currency, while also catalysing the country’s economic development.

The team from the international rating agency were accompanied by officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

S&P noted that the largest single-train refinery complex in the world, would bolster Nigeria’s oil sector and, more importantly, also have a positive impact on its growing economy.

Director and Lead Analyst, Sovereign and International Public Finance Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, Ravi Bhatia, who led the delegation to Lagos, said Dangote refinery would transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products.

He added that this transformation is expected to boost revenue generation and alleviate the current pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

“It is a very impressive facility, able to process 650,000 barrels a day, when in full capacity. It is the largest single-train refinery complex in the world. It came out quite quickly. Nigeria is a big exporter of crude but has issues with importing refined fuels. So, there is a gap in the market where crude can be refined in Nigeria, save money that way, and potentially save some foreign exchange. This will be positive for the economy in the medium term. It looks positive from our assessment,” Bhatia said after an over four-hour tour of the facility.

The S&P team commended the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, for integrating advanced technologies and quality control measures, including a state-of-the-art Central Control Unit ensuring smooth automation of operations.

Other members of the team of the international rating agency include the Associate Director, Sovereign Ratings, Maxmillian McGraw; Director, Corporate Ratings, Omegu Collocott; Senior Analyst, Bank Ratings, Charlotte Masvongo, and Director, Financial Services, Samira Mensah.

Currently operating at 350,000 barrels per day capacity, Edwin said the refinery is slated to scale up to at least 500,000 barrels per day capacity by July/August, commencing the refining of petrol and ultra-low sulphur diesel.

He noted that the refinery, designed to process a wide range of crudes including various African and Middle Eastern crudes, as well as US Light Oil, conforms to Euro V specifications. In addition, it is designed to comply with US EPA, European Union (EU) emission norms, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms, and the African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

While noting that most refineries were built by foreign companies, he said it is a thing of pride that a Nigerian company designed and built the world’s largest single-train refinery complex, while acting directly as its own Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor. The refinery also incorporates a self-sufficient marine facility capable of handling the world’s largest vessels.

“The refinery can produce the best quality products in the world, Euro V grade. It is one of the energy-efficient refineries and it is highly environmentally friendly. It is sophisticated with a high level of automation. The largest single train refinery in the world is 100 per cent designed, engineered, and constructed by a Nigerian company as EPC contractor,” he said.

Nigeria, one of the world’s leading oil-producing countries, exports all its crude oil for refining and subsequently imports refined products due to a lack of operational refineries. It is estimated that Nigeria imports at least 50 million litres of petrol per day to meet domestic demand.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2023, Nigeria spent approximately ₦12tn on the importation of petroleum products in 2023, including petrol. This figure marks an 18.68 per cent increase compared to the ₦10tn spent on fuel imports in 2022.

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MOHBAD: Late Singer’s Family Conducts Fresh Autopsy

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The family of late singer Mohbad (born Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba) has ordered a second toxicology test to uncover the truth behind his mysterious death on September 12.

Following his burial the next day, Mohbad’s body was exhumed on September 21 for an autopsy, which was conducted on the same day.

However, in May, it was revealed that the pathologist conducting the autopsy informed the coroner that Mohbad’s body had decomposed by the time the test was performed, potentially compromising the results.

The new toxicology test aims to provide clarity on the circumstances surrounding his death.

The pathologist also said the cause of the singer’s death could not be ascertained.

Mohbad’s autopsy result from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) showed that “no significant gross finding” could be attributed to the singer’s death.

The toxicology “revealed the positive finding of Diphenhydramine, an anti-histamine; however, this concentration was not in a fatal or lethal range”.

Last month, the Aloba family rejected the autopsy result while also demanding an independent post-mortem and toxicology test.

In a statement on Tuesday, Monisola Odumosu, a member of Aloba’s legal team, said a two-part autopsy is being conducted on Mohbad.

She disclosed that the first phase had been carried out last week while the second part involved “a toxicology and histology test”.

The lawyer added that the procedure was witnessed by Joseph Aloba, Mohbad’s father, and a pathologist representing Wunmi, the late singer’s wife.

“The second autopsy as requested by the Aloba family and ordered by the Magistrate of the Coroner Court, Ms. T.A. Shotobi, was conducted on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, 2024. This autopsy is a two-part exercise, with the first part now completed,” the statement reads in part.

“If the cause of death cannot be determined from this initial examination, the second part will proceed, involving a toxicology and histology test on the necessary samples already obtained.

“This comprehensive procedure, conducted last Friday, was witnessed only by Mr. Joseph Aloba, the forensic pathologist appointed by Mr. Joseph Aloba and his team, legal representatives of both Mr. Joseph Aloba and  a pathologist appointed by Wunmi Aloba to observe the procedure.”

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Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Now $37bn, Up By $2bn In 18 Days — CBN Governor Cardoso

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The country’s foreign exchange reserves have surged to $37.05 billion as of July 18 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso announced this development during a press briefing on Tuesday, following the 296th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

The reserves experienced a significant boost, rising by $2.35 billion from $34.70 billion at the end of June to $37.05 billion in just 18 days.

“As of July 18, 2024, external reserves stood at US$37.05 billion, compared with US$34.70 billion as of June 2024. This represents 11 months of import cover for goods and services,” Cardoso said.

However, according to data published by CBN and seen by TheCable, Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood between $35.93 billion as of July 18, and $36.23 billion as of July 22, less than what Cardoso presented.

On July 18, CBN approved the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to eligible bureau de change (BDC) operators at N1,450 per dollar to meet the demand for invisible transactions.

Days after, CBN said foreign currencies worth $106.5 million were sold to authorised dealers.

CBN said the aim is to improve supply in the FX market in tandem with its price stability mandate.

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President Tinubu Signs South-East, North-West Development Commission Bills Into Law

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President Bola Tinubu has officially signed into law the South-East and North-West Development Commission bills.

The South-East Development Commission bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, who represents the Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.

After passing through the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill was transmitted to the President in June for his assent.

With the signing of the bill into law, the Commission will now receive funding to execute various projects in the South-East geopolitical zone.

The allocated funds will be used to address environmental challenges such as erosion, as well as reconstruct and rehabilitate roads in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra states.

This move is expected to bring significant development and infrastructure improvements to the region.

In a statement issued by Levinus Nwabughiogu, his chief press secretary, Kalu expressed appreciation to the president for signing the bill into law.

The deputy speaker said the commission will “rehabilitate Igbo land” and foster unity among the people.

Tinubu also signed the north-west development commission bill into law.

Jibrin Barau, deputy senate president and sponsor of the bill, said the signing of the proposed legislation is a “testament” to Tinubu’s “commitment to addressing the challenges facing the north-west geopolitical zone and indeed all parts of the country”.

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