Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has raised serious accusations against International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria. According to Edwin, these companies are deliberately obstructing the Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals from purchasing local crude oil.

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Edwin explained that the IOCs are creating significant hurdles for the refinery by inflating the prices of crude oil beyond reasonable market rates. This strategy forces the Dangote Refinery to seek crude from distant countries, which substantially increases their operational costs.

During a training session for energy editors organized by the Dangote Group, Edwin elaborated on the issue. He highlighted the efforts of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to allocate local crude to the refinery. However, the IOCs, according to Edwin, are deliberately thwarting these efforts, either by demanding exorbitant premiums or by claiming that local crude is unavailable. At one point, he noted, the refinery had to pay $6 more than the market price for crude oil, significantly impacting their production costs and efficiency.

The problem has forced the refinery to scale back its output and import crude from countries as far away as the United States, adding to the financial burden. This situation arises despite recent meetings held by the NUPRC with crude oil producers and refinery owners to ensure compliance with Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligations (DCSO) as outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Aliko Dangote, the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Dangote Group, echoed Edwin’s concerns. Speaking at the Afreximbank annual meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas, Dangote revealed that both local and foreign entities, which he described as mafia-like, have repeatedly attempted to sabotage his $19 billion refinery project. Dangote shared that he was prepared for some resistance but was taken aback by its intensity and persistence.

He remarked, “I knew that there would be a fight, but I didn’t know that the mafia in oil is stronger than the mafia in drugs. Yes, it’s a fact. The local and foreign mafia tried several times to sabotage the refinery from coming to fruition.”