How forex scarcity, oil price slump hamper downstream activities —Oando boss

Explains controversies surrounding off-spec fuel

The challenges of foreign exchange (forex) scarcity and the lingering crude oil price slump have been the major challenges facing the downstream subsector of the petroleum industry, the Chief Executive Officer, OVH Energy Marketing Limited (formerly Oando Marketing Limited), Yomi Awobokun has said.

Awobokun stated this during the formal presentation of name change of Oando Marketing Limited to OVH Energy Marketing Limited in Lagos.

He stated that the OVH represents the new shareholders of the firm comprising Oando, Vitol and Helios. Although the corporate name has changed, the products of the firm are licensed to be marketed as Oando in order to sustain the Oando heritage and entrepreneur.

The OVH Energy chief said: “All the shareholders agreed that a name change will boost the capacity of the company but to sustain the Oando heritage and entrepreneur OVH is licensed to market its products as Oando.

“Our intention is grow our reach stabilise prices and supplies and add value to our shareholders. The major value of this partnership is that it enabled access to capital by Oando. The downstream has been going through significant challenges including the unavailability of forex, drop in crude price and as a result of the entire externalities the economy is going through.

“The future leaders of this industry are those that are able to access capital. So the best of the deal is that it puts Oando to access capital and ensure supply. The partnership puts us in good stead to dominate the market.”

On the allegation of sale of off-spec fuel, Awobokun said the report was malicious because it is very difficult for any marketer to import off-spec and it would be an international non-governmental organisation that would discover that.

“The news item was serving a different purpose from what we read as the Nigerian public. It is very difficult to successfully and consistently import off-spec products into Nigeria and it will be international agency that finds out because even if the controls – regulators and equipment are weakened or compromised, what of the machine that tests the specification and the customers buying thefuel?

“I think some issues were playing out outside our shores and that is the reason no marketer responded to the report. I think it is also to spite the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) that it is not doing its job.

“The allegation against Oando station happened in Oron, Akwa Ibom. The station was shut down immediately it was reported, and samples were taken from the car and the station’s storage tank to an independent laboratory, the two samples didn’t match. It was discovered that the car’s problem was not caused by the fuel.

“The sample from Oando was on spec. It is very unlikely that a station will have such problem and it affects only one car. I don’t know the purpose that news item served because there is no proof that anybody imported off-spec product,” he added.