The recent sharp increase in the pump price of petrol has been greeted with shock and condemnations from Nigerians, as it is coming at a time the global price of crude oil dropped or been static at best.
This is also happening at a time, where Nigerians are grappling with the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, leading to a significant drop in the income of Nigerians.
This price increment is the resultant effect of subsidy removal, and full deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government, which has been on the policy agenda of past governments, starting with Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari. This is further exacerbated by the fact that, the country imports over 90% of its refined petroleum product, as the refineries have not been working optimally.
While announcing the implementation of the full deregulation of the downstream oil sector, with the removal of the existing cap on fuel prices, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), noted that henceforth the pump price would be fully determined by market forces.
In response to some comments and innuendos, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, said the deregulation policy, was to ensure economic growth and development of the country. He insisted that it was unrealistic for government to continue to subsidize petrol, as it had no economic value.
Sylva explained that subsidy was benefitting mostly the rich, rather than the poor and ordinary Nigerians. He said the policy is in line with the global best practice, as the government will continue to play its traditional role of regulation, to ensure that this strategic commodity is not priced arbitrarily by private oil marketing firms.
The importance and critical nature of petrol seems to be what is driving the condemnation and protests amongst many Nigerians. This is because the demand for petrol is not price elastic; which means, an increase in the price of petrol, does not necessarily produce a decrease in demand, due to the importance of the product in driving different sectors of the economy.
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One of the most critical issues that is generating intense debate on the deregulation policy of the downstream oil sector, vis–a–vis the sharp increase in the pump price of petrol is, why the increase?
Especially, when you consider that there has not been any major increase in the global price of crude oil, which is the main component in determining the pump price of petrol. In fact, the price of crude oil has been on a decline recently.
Recall that, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, in an internal memo, to oil marketers and stakeholders, increased the ex-depot price of fuel from N138. 62 per litre to N151.56 per litre. Some analysts have suggested that the increase could be attributed to the high exchange rate, following the devaluation of the naira against the dollar, and rising costs in the value chain. But the very critical question is, is the devaluation of the naira enough to drive such increase?
The Managing Director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Plc), Adetunji Oyebanji, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN, had about a fortnight ago, said the retail pump price of petrol should be around N155 per litre.
In his analysis of the development, Professor Adeola Adenikinju, Director, Centre for Petroleum Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan said, “The major drivers of PMS price in a deregulated environment are the price of crude oil and the exchange rate. However, in many countries, governments also levy indirect taxes on petroleum products, to fund government road and other developmental projects, because of their inelastic demand.
“In Nigeria, NNPC gets the exchange rate at the official rate of about N386/$1. At that exchange rate, and given the current crude oil price of about $42.60 per barrel for Bonny Light, the current pump price of PMS of around N151.56 per litre is not justified by this analyst’s calculations, even if other cost components like distribution and marketing margins are included, except if BDC exchange rate or other charges are included.”
He expressed his support for the liberalization of the petroleum downstream sector, that will encompass opening up the sector to all players, not just NNPC. He said we need real competition in the market place, as that is the only way to bring effective competition and allow retail price to reflect marginal opportunity costs of PMS.
Going further he said, “We found ourselves in an embarrassing position as a major oil exporting country, that is also a major importer of refined products. A substantial part of what constitutes the costs of refined products now, including taxes in importing countries, shipping, finance costs, ports charges, lightering charges etc., are all avoidable costs, if we have a thriving and efficient domestic refinery sector.
“There is currently some opaqueness in the activities of the NNPC in the current subsidy system. The government is losing out on how much the NNPC transfers to the federation accounts for handling the government share of crude oil. NNPC is charging the government and Nigerians, not just the under-recovery amount, but also nebulous charges like costs of pipeline repairs, and estimates of crude oil losses.’’
On his own part, an Oil and Gas Expert, Olumide Ibikunle, disclosed that the global crude oil prices are majorly linked to the price of the final product, which are refined products like petrol, diesel, kerosene, and then foreign exchange. However, he admitted that there are other elements in the pricing template.
He said, “You need to realize that, there are other elements of the pricing template. I just mentioned 2 of the most important ones, which are the exchange rate and the crude oil prices. There are other items like international shipping cost, which is also a key part of it; lithering costs; freight costs, also depending on the availability of tankers for instance, if tankers are not available in the international market to ship refined products; the cost of moving refined products also increases.”
He said that at best, what we have is partial deregulation, as government is trying to guard against the volatility of the global crude oil prices, which changes on a daily basis. He pointed out that, it is not good to have prices of petrol fluctuate every day at the retail stations. Hence, the introduction of price modulation mechanism by government, to manage those volatilities.
Olumide also said, “These products are ordered in advance. I don’t need PMS today and place the order today. I place the order 2 or 3 months in advance. You must realize the dynamics at that time versus what it is now, might be different. so that consideration is also something that fits into the price consideration, and we must also factor that in.”
“So, if prices are N160 today, perhaps it is reflective of the $46 or $45 per barrel, that we saw 2 months ago. Hence, what you see in October or November, will be reflective of what you see in September,” he concluded.
It does seem the recent increase is driven mostly by the exchange rate, but inability to get our refineries working at optimal capacity, government taxes, and the inefficiencies in the system, which is superintended by the Federal Government.
Power: Nigeria records transmission peak of 5,459.50MW – TCN
TCN has announced that it hit a peak transmission of 5,459.50MW on the 28th, October 2020.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) announced that it hit a peak transmission of 5,459.50MW on the 28th, October 2020.
This was disclosed on Thursday in a statement by Ms Ndidi Mbah, General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN.
Good Job from the Men and Women of the Transmission Company of Nigeria and everyone within the Power Sector.
— Engr. Sale Mamman (@EngrSMamman) October 29, 2020
She said Nigeria hit the milestone on October 28th and surpassed the earlier record of 5,420.30MW achieved on August 18.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported that the Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, disclosed that Nigeria’s installed grid power generation capacity has grown from 8,000MW to 13,000MW under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The new peak surpasses the 5,420.30MW achieved on Aug. 18 by 39.20MW,” Ms Mbah said.
The Acting Managing Director, Mr Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, commended all the players in the power sector value chain for the feat.
He attributed the gradual but steady improvement in the quantum of power delivery to collaboration by the sector players, as well as, the unbridled effort by the Federal Government – through the Ministry of Power – in setting the right environment for seamless operations.
The Acting Managing Director said the company will continue workings towards improved power transmission across the nation.
Nairametrics reported in August that the Federal Government of Nigeria revealed that the Siemens $2 billion power deal, under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) will save the nation over $1 billion annually.
Structure of the PPI funding:
- 85% from a consortium of banks guaranteed by the German government through credit insurance firm, Euler Hermes.
- 15% of the FG’s counterpart funding.
- 2–3 years moratorium.
- 10–12 years repayment at concessionary interest rates.
Exxon Mobil to cut 14,000 jobs as pandemic hit oil demand, prices
Exxon Mobil announced it will slash its global workforce by 15% over the next two years, as it struggles to preserve dividends.
Exxon Mobil Corp on Thursday, October 30, 2020, announced that it will reduce its global workforce by 15% by the end of 2022 – an unprecedented culling by North America’s biggest oil explorer, as the coronavirus pandemic hits energy demand, prices, and struggles to preserve dividends.
The job cuts are expected to include 1,900 U.S. jobs – mostly in Houston, the headquarters for its US oil and gas businesses – as well as layoffs previously announced in Europe and Australia and reductions in the number of contractors, some of which have already taken place.
This was disclosed in a statement that was released by the energy giant on Thursday, October 30, 2020.
The staff reduction is part of the latest effort by the Chief Executive Officer, Darren Woods, to curtail spending and halt the worst string of quarterly losses since Exxon assumed its modern form with the 1999 takeover of Mobil Corp.
What you should know
Exxon and other oil producers have been slashing costs due to a collapse in oil demand and prices, as well as ill-timed bets on new projects. The Big Oil rivals of Exxon are also cutting thousands of jobs in response to the pandemic-induced demand slump. BP Plc plans to slash 10,000 jobs, Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut as many as 9,000 roles, and Chevron Corp. has announced around 6,000 reductions.
Norton said that Exxon’s workforce stood at about 88,000 people, including 75,000 in-house employees and about 13,000 contractors as of year-end 2019.
Exxon’s job cut is a sign of its weakened financial position compared to its former status as the S&P 500 Index’s biggest company less than a decade ago, and a profit powerhouse used to ride out oil-price cycles.
This year’s downturn has been particularly damaging because it also affected refining, usually a cushion in times of low oil prices. Also, it came at a time when Exxon was already increasing borrowing to fund a large expansion program. The company was forced to retreat on these plans in April, reducing capital spending by $10 billion and delaying or scaling back most of the major projects.
The stock has plunged more than 50% this year. Its dividend yield is now more than 10%, indicating that investors are anticipating a cut. Exxon maintained the quarterly payout on Wednesday and is expected to post its third consecutive quarterly loss when it reports earnings tomorrow.
What they are saying
The Company in its statement said, “These actions will improve the company’s long-term cost competitiveness and ensure the company manages through the current unprecedented market conditions.’’
Exxon’s spokesman, Casey Norton, through an email said that the total reduction means the company will reduce its workforce by about 14,000 people, split between employees and contractors from year-end 2019 levels. The cuts will come through attrition, targeted redundancy programs in 2021, and scaled-back hiring in some countries.
What this means
Another set of job losses in the oil sector in Nigeria is looming. Nigeria is one of Exxon’s biggest operational bases in oil and gas exploration and production globally. Also, this is another setback after Shell announced 9,000 job cuts globally, which includes Nigeria, and the announcement by Chevron that it plans to reduce its staff strength in Nigeria by 25%.
FG to invest in the deployment of Mini-grid systems to power 5 million homes in 2021
The Minister said the government will invest in Mini-grid systems that will provide power for 5 million homes in 2021.
In a bid to provide remote communities with clean and affordable energy, the Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman has disclosed that the Government is set to invest heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems that will provide power for 5 million homes in 2021.
This disclosure was made by Engr. Sale Mamman in a statement released into the mainstream media via his official Twitter handle.
It is virtually impossible to have the National grid covering every geographical point within Nigeria, that is why Government is investing heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems which can easily get to the most remote communities and provide clean, affordable energy.
— Engr. Sale Mamman (@EngrSMamman) October 29, 2020
The Minister explained that it is virtually impossible for the National grid to cover every geographical point within Nigeria. He emphasized that this reality prompted the present administration to sort out alternatives, and as a result, the Government is set to invest heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems, which can easily get to the most remote communities and provide clean, and affordable energy in 2021.
What they are saying
The Minister, in his statement, said, “It is virtually impossible to have the National grid covering every geographical point within Nigeria, that is why the Government is investing heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems, which can easily get to the most remote communities and provide clean, affordable energy.
“In 2021, part of our priorities at the Ministry and two of its implementing agencies will be on providing these Mini-grid systems for communities and stand-alone home solar systems. We have a target of 5 million homes. Clean, affordable, and accessible energy for all.”
What you should know
The Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, at the 2021 budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Power in Abuja, yesterday disclosed that Nigeria’s installed grid power generation capacity has grown from 8,000MW to 13,000MW under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister also pointed out that the distribution system had the capacity to evacuate 5,500MW of power, which is a significant improvement from 4,500MW in 2015.