Nigerias Ban Boosts Local Blenders


Nigerian officials said they plan to enforce a ban that began Jan. 1 on retail sales of lubricants from bulk tanks in all outlets across the country, aiming to outlaw sales of substandard and counterfeit products to unsuspecting end users.

The government said henceforth lubricants could only be sold in approved, branded packs in sales outlets throughout Nigeria. Some local blenders believe the ban will result in improved sales volumes for them.

Olumide Adeleke, the Department of Petroleum Resources assistant director of pipeline, plants and installation, told Lube Report last week his agency was ready to enforce the ban to the letter. The DPR is Nigerias regulatory authority for the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

The government is serious this time. The ministerial committee consisting of DPR, Standards Organization of Nigeria, major and independent lubricant manufacturers, automotive technicians association and the lubricants marketers all agreed that the ban should start Jan. 1, Adeleke said. The stakeholders have also agreed to fund the enlightenment and sensitization campaign to educate the public on the expected changes. Our role is to initiate actions to ensure compliance and as from next week, our monitoring team will be going out to ensure that the ban is effected.

Petroleum Resources Minister Rilwan Lukman had given a marching order to DPR for the enforcement of the ban last December, in Abuja, the nations capital. Lukman, who was addressing the ministerial committee charged with the responsibility of cleaning up the lubricant market, disclosed that the department was mandated to ensure all lubricant-dispensing tanks are properly disposed, warning that any marketer who fails to comply will have to face the full wrath of the law.

Stakeholders, who had earlier doubted the seriousness of the Nigerian government, have also hailed the decision to enforce the ban, describing the determination of the government to ensure compliance as good for the industry.

Austin Okoro, regional sales manager (southwest) of blender A-Z Oil in Nnewi, southeast Nigeria, said successful implementation of the ban would open a new horizon for the countrys lubricants industry.

I am in total support of the renewed determination of the government to enforce the ban. Nobody would have imagined that this would happen in Nigeria so soon, Okoro told Lube Report. Marketers that have invested heavily in bulk tanks should think of using their tanks for other things to show that they have the interest of the industry at heart. They could explore the opportunities that abound in blending.

Taiye Williams, general manager of manufacturing and marketing for Lubcon Oil, another blender in the southwest Nigerian town of Ilorin, also described the development as a good omen for the sector, saying the effective implementation of the ban would result in increased volume for local blenders.

Since the emphasis now is on customized and branded packaging, local blenders such as Lubcon would see it as an advantage since we are poised to increase the volume of our sales and had been preparing for the opportunities the ban would bring, more so as it is coming with a ban on imported lubricants as well, Williams told Lube Report. The majors are the most affected since they dispense lubricants in bulk tanks in their gas stations scattered across the country. We are still discussing in the ministerial committee to find a way out for them.

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