Nigeria, others at risk as Russia halts petrol export

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Nigeria’s petrol importation could encounter disruptions as Russia announces a halt on petrol exports starting March 1, posing risks to several countries.

According to the French international news agency, Agence France-Presse, the Russian government has confirmed a six-month ban on petrol exports to ensure adequate fuel supply for domestic consumption.

Russia, the world’s third-largest oil producer, has been grappling with intermittent fuel shortages since last summer, attributed to high demand and refinery maintenance.

“The restrictions on petrol exports will be in place for six months, from March 1 to August 31,” stated the government in a Thursday announcement.

In 2023, Russia produced 43.9 million tonnes of petrol, with approximately 5.76 million tonnes exported, accounting for about 13% of its total production.

Reuters notes that African nations such as Nigeria, Libya, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates are among the primary buyers of Russian petrol.

Reports from 2023 revealed a significant surge in Nigeria’s petrol imports from Russia, increasing by 84% within a year, reaching 3.8 million litres (24,000 barrels) in 2023 compared to 558,300 litres (3,700 barrels) in 2022, as per data from Argus West Africa Oil.

With embargoes from the European Union, the UK, and the United States following the Ukraine invasion, Russia has been exploring alternative markets.

The government emphasized that the ban aims to ensure fuel market stability during periods of high demand, including spring agricultural activities, holiday seasons, and refinery maintenance.

Ahead of upcoming elections next month, President Vladimir Putin’s administration is keen on averting fuel shortages in the local market to maintain control.

Last year’s ban on diesel and petrol exports in Russia led to challenges for farmers in certain regions, impacting grain harvesting due to fuel shortages.

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