What will OTL Africa focus on this year?
Policy-induced shrinking margins in some markets is shifting focus to alternative products, market segments, and opportunities which we will highlight. LPG and lubricants are significant drivers in view of increasing penetration in large markets like Nigeria and the rest of the West African region, with about 900% growth in the last ten years for LPG. We will also explore solutions in distribution infrastructure including depots and pipelines. Sourcing and pricing of petroleum products is always an issue, and we will be shining a searchlight on how the Dangote refinery will impact the product supply chain.
How much will the Dangote refinery reduce Nigeria's dependency on imports of refined products?
At this point, we can only make assumptions based on what Dangote says. The refinery is said to have a capacity of 650,000bpd, while the volume of crude oil designated to be adequate to meet daily local supplies in Nigeria is 450,000bpd. The Dangote refinery could potentially meet the local petroleum product needs of Nigeria and the West African region. However, a great deal depends on the policy, which is why one of the things we are doing this year is holding a policy roundtable for the Nigerian downstream markets.
Who will you have at OTL on the public sector side?
All the industry regulators will be on hand to provide insight into operations and policy.
What outcome do you expect from this year's event?
We want to be able to achieve increased competitiveness in markets across the continent, driven by certainty of policy. If after this year's events and over the next one year African governments begin to look more actively to opening up the markets, we would have been successful in driving that narrative. Everything now is business promotion, business interaction, and ensuring that opportunities are expanded for the stakeholders who attend our events.
Can you tell us about the OTL Africa's annual resolutions?
Every year, at the end of every event we have key pointers to what the industry wants. We put these pointers together in the form of resolutions, which use to drive advocacy over the course of the year. In driving that advocacy, we push out these resolutions to the relevant government authorities who take it as the basis for engaging with the public. Beyond that, we also try to hold them accountable by identifying specific strands of these activities that tie with the expectations the government has set relating to these resolutions. By doing that over a period of time, we can actually get them to develop policies driven by stakeholders' yearnings. Even if the authorities were not thinking of it, we can remind them, and they are able to go back and take a look; thereby, some progress can be made.