Harness $2bn marine fuel market in Sub-Sahara, NIMASA tasks local refinery operators

Harness $2bn marine fuel market in Sub-Sahara, NIMASA tasks local refinery operators

Harness $2bn marine fuel market in Sub-Sahara, NIMASA tasks local refinery operators

Oredola Adeola

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has charged local modular and other private refineries in the country to take advantage of huge market potential available in supply of marine fuels (bunker fuel) in the Sub-Sahara region.

He stated that the market has about $2 billion in the offering for business men and women who are ready to venture into the terrain. 

Similarly, the agency also indicated plans to partner refineries owners who produces in conformity with the new fuel oil regulation and mandate of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which limits the sulphur in the fuel oil used on board ships to 0.50 per cent m/m (mass by mass).

The  NIMASA DG, made the disclosure at a two-day meeting of the Agency with modular and other refinery operators and fuel oil suppliers in the country which ended at the weekend. 

Dr Jamoh, who was represented at the meeting by Acting Head, Marine Environment Management (MEM) Department, NIMASA, Mr. Isa Mudi, pledged agency’s preparedness support operators, charged them to take advantage of the new regulation and the prospect it offers.

He said, “As the country’s shipping regulator, we have had interfaces with the relevant stakeholders on how to reach a win-win agreement on Nigeria’s compliance with the IMO sulphur content cap. We are happy to announce that the coast is clear for us to achieve this mandate.

“Nigeria has an advantage ab initio, because we produce low sulphur crude. The challenge for us now is conversion of this advantage to availability of bunker fuels that meet the IMO mandate.  

“I make bold to say that we have all it takes to be the bunker fuel hub for Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a $2 billion bunker fuel market in Sub-Saharan Africa waiting to be harnessed by our business men and women.”

Jamoh added, “Our refineries are not working at full-capacity, and this is an opportunity for the modular and other private refineries to come in to fill a vital gap in the marine fuel supply chain. Bunker fuel is a critical element in the shipping business.

“With the coming into effect of IMO 2020, we assure you as an Agency that the country’s shipping community will be galvanised to ensure availability, supply, and, in fact, self-sufficiency in 0.5 per cent sulphur content fuels in line with the IMO standard,” the NIMASA DG said. 

In their contributions, representatives of Niger Delta Refinery (NDR), Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), and OPAC Refinery who were at the meeting, pledged their commitment to partner with NIMASA and other relevant government agencies in the attempt to make the required fuel accessible.

The meeting was attended by representatives of government agencies, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

EnergyDay gathered that the new IMO sulphur oxide emissions cutting regulations mandate a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 per cent in marine fuels globally. The change is driven by the need to reduce air pollution generated in the shipping industry by reducing the Sulphur content of fuels that ships use.

The regulation came into force on January 1, 2020, marking a significant milestone in efforts to improve air quality, preserve the environment and protect human health.

The IMO 2020 rule limits the sulphur in the fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas to 0.50 per cent m/m, a significant reduction from the previous limit of 3.5 per cent.

Within specifically designated emission control areas, the limits were already stricter (0.10%). This new limit was made compulsory following an amendment to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).