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Forex crisis threatens modular refineries N25bn daily crude input

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Modular refineries in Nigeria are currently facing the threat of shutting down operations following their inability to access foreign exchange for the purchase of crude oil, a commodity priced in United States dollars.

Nigeria has 25 licenced modular refineries with a combined capacity of producing 200,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

Although not all of the plants are currently operational, it was gathered that the functional ones were increasingly finding it difficult to purchase crude due to the worsening foreign exchange crisis in the country.

Brent, the global benchmark for crude, traded at about $80/barrel on Sunday and had remained within that range for months.

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With an estimated capacity of 200,000bpd, the modular refineries, if fully operational, would refine about $16m (or N25.14bn if Thursday’s official closing rate of N1,571/dollar is used.”

Annually, it means the modular refineries has capacity for about 73 million barrels annually, representing about $5.84bn worth of crude oil.

But the facilities, which produce Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, Dual Purpose Kerosene or kerosene, naphtha and black oil, are now finding it hard to make the refined products available to oil marketers for distribution to consumers.

They explained that the scarcity of dollars had made it almost impossible for operators to purchase crude oil, as the modular refinery players and oil marketers demanded for the sale of crude oil in naira from the Federal Government.

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The modular refinery operators, who spoke under the aegis of Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, also lamented that the Federal Government had not been able to keep its part of the bargain with respect to the provision of feedstock to local crude oil refiners.

Speaking with our correspondent on the matter, the Publicity Secretary, Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, Eche Idoko, stated that modular refineries may close shop if nothing is done to ameliorate the situation.

CORAN is a registered association of modular and conventional refinery companies in Nigeria, while modular refineries are simplified refineries that require significantly less capital investment than traditional full-scale refineries.

Idoko said, “The purchase of crude oil in dollars is currently the major challenge to modular refineries. We buy crude in dollars and sell our refined products in naira, and this is a major challenge. And apart from that, where do you get the dollars to pay for the crude?

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“You heard the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria crying out recently about the dollar saga. We have requested that crude oil be sold to us in naira. And when you do this, you ease the pressure on the naira and this will make our diesel cheaper.

“It will encourage more investors to build and patronise the local refineries. If you take petroleum products off the foreign exchange market, you would have helped the naira by 60 per cent.”

Asked whether the inability of modular refineries to source dollars for crude oil purchase was slowing down production at the plants, Idoko replied, “Yes. We’ve not been able to get enough crude and from the little that we see, we’ve not been able to get forex to buy them.”

On whether this posed a threat to the survival of the plants, the spokesperson of the group said, “Exactly, it is a threat to our existence and it also opens the country to the volatility in the international market.”

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Although the association could not state the estimated volume of crude refined by modular refineries in Nigeria, it stated that operators in the sector could refine about 200,000 barrels daily if all of them were operating.

Idoko said, “Right now, I don’t have the actual volume of crude that modular refineries refine annually. However, it is important to state that what each refinery produces in a month is dependent on the amount of crude they are able to get.

“The government has not been able to fulfill its own side of the obligation by providing 60 per cent of the crude required by modular refineries, as captured in the Petroleum Industry Act. So a lot of modular refineries are performing below capacity.

“For instance, OPAC has a 10,000 barrels per day installed capacity, but the most they have been able to refine is like 3,000 to 4,000bpd. The Edo refinery has 1,000bpd, but sometimes they do just 500bpd. Aradel and Waltersmith are the ones that refine as much as 70 and 80 per cent of their capacities because they have their own marginal fields.

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“Waltersmith has a capacity of 5,000bpd, while Aradel has 10,000bpd refining capacity. However, if all the modular refineries come onstream, all those that have been licensed so far, our crude demand would be about 150,000bpd and 200,000bpd.”

Nigeria currently has 25 licensed modular refineries. Five of them are operating and producing diesel, kerosene, black oil and naphtha. About 10 are under various stages of completion, while the others have received licences to establish.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum could not be reached to tell whether the government would consider selling crude to the modular refineries in naira, as they had yet to respond to enquiries up till when this report was filed.

However, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, recently confirmed the lack of crude to domestic refiners, noting that Nigeria’s inability to meet its crude oil production quota approved by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was the major limiting factor.

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Lokpobiri, however, stated that the government was working hard to meet the production quota in order to supply crude oil to local refiners as stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Act.

Meanwhile, Idoko noted that “the current NNPC boss, petroleum minister and NUPRC have all talked about the possibility of having some arrangements with us in naira. But that hasn’t been implemented. Our people still source crude from domestic producers in dollars.

“We buy crude in dollars and sell our refined products in naira. So it is not that we earn dollar proceeds. Our earnings from the sale of diesel, kerosene and black oil is in naira.

“The only dollar component is the sale of naphtha, but most of our refineries won’t sell naphtha, they put it back into the system and reproduce kerosene or diesel. So we still have to visit the Central Bank of Nigeria or domestic dollar market to source our dollars.”

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Marketers react

Commenting on the development, oil marketers stated that the continued fall of the naira against the dollar was limiting the release of refined petroleum products from the modular refineries.

Marketers under the aegis of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria stated that operators of these refineries had stated that the country’s foreign exchange crisis had made it difficult to put a price on refined petroleum products.

They called on the Federal Government and NNPCL to start supplying crude oil to local refineries in naira, considering the persistent fluctuations of the dollar.

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The President, NOGASA, Benneth Korie, who conveyed the resolutions of members of the association after their meeting in Abuja, stated that the government should peg the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ in order to enable refineries to start pumping out refined products.

“If for example crude is $80/barrel, we will have to convert it to naira and sell to Nigerians at the naira rate. Let me start by telling you the implications. The problem holding most of these refineries and modular refineries from coming up is the exchange rate crisis.

“So the answer to this is for the government to come out and tell Nigerians that this is how much the dollar is, not this forex rate we hear on TV. Let the government come out and tell us the rate, not the black market rate.

“I know our budget this year was benchmarked at about N750/$. So if the government can maintain the exchange rate at N750/$, heaven will not fall, whether there is inflow or no inflow. It is not the first time we are seeing the dollar at N400 and they (black marketers) are selling for N800.

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“So let’s go back and try it, because if we allow this crisis to continue, the dollar may get to what we cannot handle; it may get to the point that all our food items could be sold at dollar rates if care is not taken.

“Therefore, let us go back to N750/$ as it was stated in the budget and work with that, so that the crude oil that will be sold to the refineries will be sold at the exchange rate of N750/$, and it should be converted and we pay in naira.”

Explaining further, he said, “If you are buying crude oil from the government, you pay in dollars, but how do you blend? How much are you going to sell your refined products when you don’t know how much the dollar is going to be tomorrow?

“So it will affect you as a businessman. But if we have one price from the government, then when you are buying the crude from the government or NNPC, you will calculate it based on the government’s rate, convert it to naira and then sell it to Nigerians in naira.

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“But when you go to get dollars today and they say it is N1,500, how do you calculate? It creates confusion. So it is causing a problem. Let’s have one rate from the government and things will change positively.”

The NOGASA president went ahead to speak on refineries under the management of NNPCL, as he stated that the forex crisis was also affecting these plants.

“For the Port Harcourt refinery, they said it will come up, and they are also into the business of buying and selling, so if the dollar is not stable, be rest assured it is their problem too,” Korie stated.

When probed further on whether the forex crisis was a major factor limiting the release of products from the refineries, he replied, “For most of them, yes!. This is because you don’t know how much you are going to buy the dollar and so you cannot tell how much you are going to sell (your products). It (dollar) is not stable.”

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Speaking further on modular refineries, Korie said operators in this space were finding it tough to source dollars to make crude oil purchase, stressing that the instability of forex had remained a challenge.

On modular refineries, the problem they have is that they do not know how much they will buy and you are selling to them at the dollar rate. If you go to any modular refinery to buy products, the products’ price will be the same at almost the same price as the one you import,” the NOGASA boss stated.

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Economy

Dangote to scrap steel investment plan in Nigeria over allegations of monopoly

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The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has announced that the company will abandon its plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry to avoid being branded a monopoly.

Dangote made this disclosure in a statement on Saturday while addressing journalists at his refinery in Lagos.

The business tycoon explained that the company’s board decided to avoid the steel industry to prevent accusations of attempting to monopolize it.

Furthermore, he noted that pursuing this venture would involve encouraging the importation of raw materials from overseas, which contradicts the firm’s core mandate.

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“You know, about doing a new business which we announced, that is, the steel.

“Actually, our own board has decided that we shouldn’t do the steel because if we do the steel business, we will be called all sorts of names like monopoly. And then also, imports will be encouraged. So we don’t want to go into that,” he said.

Dangote, however, urged other Nigerians to invest in the industry to help boost the country’s economy.

“Let other Nigerians go and do it. We are not the only Nigerians here. There are some Nigerians with more cash than us. They should bring that money from Dubai and other parts of the world and invest in our own fatherland,” the CEO added.

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In June, Nairametrics reported that Aliko Dangote said his company plans to delve into steel production in the near future stating that he wants to ensure that every steel used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

He noted that the next venture after the refinery project would be in steel manufacturing and ensure that all steel products used in West Africa come from Nigeria.

“I don’t like people coming to take our solid minerals to process and bring the finished product. We should try and industrialise our continent and take it to the next level.

“I told somebody we are not going to take any break. What we are trying to do is to make sure at least in West Africa, we want to make sure that every single steel that we use will come from Nigeria”, Dangote said at that time.

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Nigeria has tried unsuccessfully to become a leader in the steel manufacturing industry with a handful of failed projects like the Ajaokuta steel plant, Delta Steel Company, Osogbo and Jos rolling mills even under government and private ownership.

Like the oil refineries, the federal government under different administrations has spent billions trying to put the local steel plants to work but has been unsuccessful.

The administration of President Bola Tinubu had promised during the campaigns to ensure steel production starts in the multi-billion-dollar Ajaokuta steel complex.

Dangote investment in the industry might have been a game changer, attracting more capital and economic opportunity to the sector.

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However, with the recent revelation and decision from the African richest man, the steel industry may still linger in the shadow of under investment for years to come.

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SEE Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate at the Black Market Today, July 20, 2024

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Many Nigerians, especially those engaged in foreign trade, travel, and investment, always tend to be very sensitive and inquisitive about the US dollar-to-naira exchange rate. Parallel market rates, otherwise referred to as black market or Aboki FX rates, would often show different prices from the official Central Bank of Nigeria current rates. For many, this is a critical source of foreign exchange. How much is a dollar to naira now in black market? Dollar to naira exchange rate at black market yesterday (Aboki dollar rate): The exchange rate for a dollar to naira selling at Lagos Parallel Market (Black Market), yesterday, July 19, 2024, players bought dollars for N 1555 and sold at N 1565 according to sources at Bureau De Change, BDC.

Please take note that the Central Bank of Nigeria does not recognize the parallel market, popularly known as the black market, for it has directed anybody willing to sell Forex to go to their respective banks. Dollar to Naira Black Market Rate Today, July 20, 2024 Advertisement Buying Rate: N1575 Selling Rate: N1580 Dollar to Naira CBN Exchange Rate Some stability may come with a government-regulated setting of official rates by the Central Bank of Nigeria. View current rates below:

Dollar to Naira (USD to NGN) CBN Rate Today: Buying Rate: N1655 Selling Rate: N1656 These rates reflect government policies aimed at stabilizing the naira and managing foreign exchange reserves. Businesses and individuals who prefer regulated transactions frequently utilise these rates for their transactions. Please note that the rate at which you are selling or buying forex may not be the same during capture in this piece because prices keep varying.

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Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate at Black Market (Aboki FX) July 20, 2024: USD to NGN CBN Rate Advertisement Pounds and Euro to Naira Exchange Rates For those dealing with currencies other than the US dollar, here are the latest rates: Pounds to Naira (CBN Rates) Buying Rate: ₦2,107 Selling Rate: ₦2,108 Euro to Naira (Black Market Rates) Buying Rate: ₦1,767 Selling Rate: ₦1,769

These rates are also subject to market conditions and economic policies.

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Economy

CBN Releases New Guidelines To Banks On Dormant Accounts, Unclaimed Balances

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued revised guidelines for the management of dormant accounts, unclaimed balances, and other financial assets in banks and financial institutions across Nigeria.

The updated guidelines come into immediate effect, replacing those issued in October 2015.

This was contained in a statement signed by John S. Onojah, Acting Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department on Friday where the CBN stated that the revision followed the conclusion of a comprehensive review.

“This is sequel to the conclusion of the review of the Guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts and Other Unclaimed Funds by Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria issued in October 2015,” Onojah said.

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The new guidelines, which operationalise Section 72 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, were developed after consultations with stakeholders.

“Their feedback and recommendations were incorporated into the final document.

“The revised Guidelines…standardizes the management of dormant accounts, unclaimed balances, and financial assets,” Onojah explained.

“The CBN will soon provide further details on how banks should transfer these dormant balances and unclaimed funds to the central bank.

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“Additionally, updated templates for quarterly reporting to the Banking Supervision Department or the Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department will be communicated.

“This guidelines supersedes the Guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts and Other Unclaimed Funds by Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria, issued in October 2015 and takes effect immediately,” Onojah confirmed.

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