The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) has tasked petroleum products marketers and other operators in the downstream segment of the oil and gas industry sector to look beyond interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria to survive.

The Executive Secretary of the association, Anibor Kragha, who spoke to The Guardian on the sidelines of the Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja, recently, noted that security and a sustainable funding option must be prioritised at a time that the global community is aiming towards cleaner energy.

Kragha called for bankable downstream projects that would tick all the requirements of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).

Nigeria spends over N6t to subsidise petroleum products, a development, which continues to affect yearly appropriation, as well as social and economic growth.

“We keep talking about what the CBN will do to give us money. That’s not the answer. At COP26, South Africa signed a deal for an $8.5 billion package to move from coal. The biggest thing for Africa in my mind is the African carbon market. The idea is to look across Africa and see projects that can reduce carbon footprint, and bring billions of dollars into our economy.”

According to him, a Nigerian downstream transition plan can enable the country to find funds for critical projects if the country unites, and approaches investors.

The executive director noted that operators must de-carbonise and save the country from dire health challenges that may follow the continuous use of high sulphur petroleum products.

Kragha noted that the country would continue to run to CBN without tangible results if operators fail to deploy a sustainable approach towards financing the sector.

“If we all start going to the CBN, the bank will never meet our demands; we need additional funding in the sector,” Kragha said.

With increasing population and demand for fuel, Kragha said the country needs a midstream and downstream value-addition strategy for energy security, adding that the sector must come together to create a leeway for financing projects, stressing that nothing would be achieved without the right financing strategy.

He disclosed that ARDA has been working across the continent to ensure that petroleum products are cleaner and conform to similar regulations.