Diesel price drops as Dangote sells N1,225/litre, supplies petrol May

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• Dealers get one million litres each at N1,225/litre, price drops in Oyo, Lagos, Ogun

The pump price of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, has dropped from about N1,700/litre which it sold for a few weeks ago, to around N1,350/litre in some locations across the country following the sale of the commodity by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the $20bn worth refinery started pumping out diesel to the domestic market last Wednesday.

It sold a minimum of one million litres to each registered oil marketer that got the product from the plant since it commenced diesel sale.

Officials of the multi-billion dollar plant and oil dealers confirmed that the product was dispensed to marketers at between N1,225/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume of purchase.

This came as it was also gathered that the refinery would start releasing Premium Motor Spirit to the domestic market in May this year.

“They started pumping out diesel to marketers since last week. They also promised to sell aviation fuel soon. Some of my members confirmed this to me after making the purchase,” the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, told one of our correspondents.

He added, “So some of our marketers have started getting the product, but as an association we have not got the product yet, because we want to get the actual rate that it will be sold to us when we buy in bulk. However, they have started selling diesel because some of our marketers have started buying.

N1,225/litre

“They are selling at N1,225/litre and the minimum volume they are giving is one million litres per marketer. Also, they assured us that they will release more products, but for now this (diesel) is what they are starting with. So we are expecting them to release PMS anytime from now.”

Maigandi said the move by Dangote would definitely lead to a crash in diesel price, as the commodity rose to a high of about N1,700/litre recently.

“The price of diesel is going to fall because of the release of products from Dangote refinery. In fact, it is already coming down in Lagos,” Maigandi stated.

Another oil marketer, who is the Chief Executive, AF Ralph Oil and Gas Ventures, Dr Ralph Arokoyo, confirmed that the refinery had started the sale of diesel to dealers, adding that the plant started dispensing the product last Wednesday.

Asked if Dangote refinery had started supplying diesel to the market, Arokoyo replied, “Yes they have started. They started diesel sales last Wednesday and they have sold to many marketers including members of IPMAN and MEMAN (Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria), as well as other private registered independent dealers.”

Price drops

When also asked about the minimum volume being sold to dealers and at what rate, Arokoyo said, “One million litres is the minimum and the rate is okay considering what other major tank farms are selling, which is why people are trooping to the refinery now.

“The price ranges between N1,250/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume you are buying. This is good news for Nigerians because in the last few weeks the price of diesel hovered between N1,600 and N1,700/litre.

“But in many locations across the federation, the prices are beginning to drop due to the emergence of products from that refinery and as the products are being dispatched since last Wednesday. Now you can get AGO (diesel) in some stations at N1,400/litre.

“Some are even doing N1,350/litre now and I want to believe that in a couple of weeks to come, we should see more reduction in the price of the product as more products from the plant hit the market and spread very well across the country.”

On whether the company informed dealers when it would start releasing petrol into the market, Arokoyo replied in the affirmative.

“They (Dangote refinery) said it (petrol) will be available between now and May, which is next month. We are optimistic about this, because PMS is largely used by Nigerians,” the oil marketer stated.

A senior official at Dangote refinery confirmed the sale of diesel to marketers, as the source noted that Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, would soon be released to the market.

“The product (diesel) is everywhere and they (marketers) are accessing it with ease. The product has been on sale to marketers since last week and the transactions have been better.

“The price of the product in various locations of the country will come down, and it is already coming down in many parts of Lagos since we started releasing products to marketers,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter, stated.

The Dangote refinery has faced a series of hurdles as it strives to release refined products into the market after it was officially inaugurated by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May last year.

Recall that on February 8, 2024, The According reported that indications emerged that lingering regulatory approvals stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market in January.

The report had stated that weeks after the January 31 timeline set by the management of Africa’s largest refinery to begin sale of its petroleum product in the local market, the refinery was still battling to cross the hurdles of the several layers of regulatory approvals.

It stated that the development came after the refinery began the production of refined petroleum products at the expansive facility.

On January 12, 2024, Dangote refinery announced that it had commenced the production of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, and aviation fuel or JetA1.

Aliko Dangote, in a statement issued by his firm at the time, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

Dangote also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NMDPRA and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project, as he revealed that the facility would pump out diesel and aviation fuel in January, subject to regulatory approvals.

He said, “We thank President Bola Tinubu for his support and for making our dream come true. This production, as witnessed today, would not have been possible without his visionary leadership and prompt attention to details.

“His intervention at various stages cleared all impediments thereby accelerating the actualisation of the project. We also thank the NNPC, NUPRC and NMDPRA for their support. These organisations have been our dependable partners in this historic journey.

“We also thank Nigerians for their belief and support in this project. We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals.”

The refinery, Africa’s largest with a nameplate capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, was built on a peninsula on the outskirts of the commercial capital Lagos.

Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry.

Dangote exports products

The commencement of diesel sale in Nigeria by the plant is not actually its first refined products sale, as The According reported in February that the refinery issued tenders to sell two fuel cargoes for export.

This was actually the first from the new refinery, as the report stated that this was confirmed by trading sources with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters at the time.

Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry

Reuters had stated in its report that Dangote declined its request for comment. The oil firm also remained mute to several enquiries by The According at the time.

The report stated that the first cargo was 65,000 metric tonnes of low-sulphur straight run fuel oil, which Dangote awarded to Trafigura, which was due to load at the end of February, three of the sources said, according to Reuters, as it added that Trafigura declined to comment at the time.

At least one refiner said they had been offered the cargo by Trafigura without elaborating further.

The second tender was for about 60,000 tonnes of naphtha, three other sources had stated. Two of them added that the tender closed on February 15. Loading details were not immediately available at the time.

Sources had also told Reuters that the refinery was preparing to deliver its first fuel cargoes to the domestic market within weeks.

The two fuels on offer were typical products of running light sweet crude through a crude distillation unit in a refinery without further upgrading capacity.

The refiner began buying crude in December last year and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has been the main supplier.

Dangote has also purchased some US oil and reportedly received two million barrels of US WTI Midland in early March, according to LSEG and Kpler ship tracking.

Dangote sells diesel

Meanwhile, the National Vice Chairman of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, also confirmed that Dangote refinery had commenced the sale of diesel to marketers.

However, Fashola said IPMAN had yet to start receiving diesel from the private oil refining company.

“Yes, it is correct (that Dangote has started selling diesel), but not yet to IPMAN. Some marketers are already getting allocation, we are still waiting for our own. We’ve put in our request, and I am very sure that at the appropriate time, they will call us,” Fashola stated.

On the current price of diesel, he said, “In filling stations now, diesel ranges from N1450, N1500 to N1600, depending on the location”.

Fashola noted that Dangote’s diesel would have a positive effect on the price of the product, saying “at least there would be a difference from the imported one”.

While saying there was no financial commitments made yet, he expressed confidence that the independent marketers would fuel from Dangote this month.

“No financial commitments made yet, but we’ve put in our papers to make known our intentions and our requests. When they issue allocation, then we can talk of financial commitments,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a diesel distributor in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Kayode Lawal, said the pump price of diesel is now between N1420 and N1500 as of Tuesday.

Also, an attendant in Badagry Lagos State, Bose Opeyemi, told our correspondent that the product now sells at the rate of N1,395 in some parts of Badagry, Lagos State, while some sell at N1,450.

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Saheed Babalola, who is a quarry agent, also said he got a litre of AGO at the rate of N1,45O

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