HomeEconomyThe low cost of imported Russian diesel does not affect prices at...

The low cost of imported Russian diesel does not affect prices at the pump

It would be a remarkable truism to argue that Russian diesel is cheap or cheap internationally, since it was hit in February by a European and G7 embargo. Which, somewhere, is good news.

Unfortunately, in Morocco, this is not the case. Indeed, companies specializing in the import and distribution of petroleum products to meet the needs of the national market do not reflect the opportunity on the selling price of this fuel at the pump of service stations. And in the case, it is the Moroccan consumer who toasts.

Prices are currently hovering around 12 dirhams per litre, for all the fuel distribution companies active in Morocco, whether or not they import Russian diesel, whether through their parent companies or through mediation companies. In short, we import so much and so much of this Russian diesel as if nothing had happened and yet… the alternative seems to have lost its way.

Said El Baghdadi, Managing Director ofAfrica SMDC, recently denied that his company was importing fuel from Russia. Indeed, he confirmed that Afriquia SMDC was shopping in Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and the United States. That said, despite the imposition of sanctions on Russia and the setting of a ceiling on the price of its diesel by the EU, Morocco has not imposed restrictions on its supplies of petroleum products of Russian origin.

The Kingdom instead seized the opportunity to import coal to control the electricity production bill, according to Mustapha Baitas, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of Relations with Parliament, and Government Spokesperson, during a a previous press conference.

Referring to data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, he indicated that the share of Moroccan imports of Russian diesel was 9% in 2020, and it fell to 5% in 2021, before rising to 9% in 2022. With the start of the year, coinciding with the sanctions against Russia, the percentage of Russian diesel imports increased to 13% between January 1 and February 27, indicating that fuel distribution companies in Morocco take advantage of this opportunity.

El Houssine El Yamani, President of the National Front for the Protection of the Samir Refinery (FNSS) and general secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Industries affiliated to the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT) told MoroccoLatestNews that “although some international companies are the only ones to import Russian diesel and distribute it directly or indirectly in Morocco, the convergence is still severe in the prices appliedby distributors in Morocco.

El Yamani said that “the sanctions imposed by the European Union at the beginning of last December on Russian crude oil led to its capping at 60 dollars a barrel, and at 100 dollars a barrel for diesel, but this did not affect the prices in force in Morocco “. The trade unionist further stated that “prices in effect today are higher than those before the subsidy was lifted in November 2015. The profit margin per liter is around one dirham for diesel and around two dirhams for petrol, not to mention discounts on Russian diesel that provide further margins for businesses“.

The Secretary General of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Industries further believes that “the reduction in fuel prices and its impact on the cost of living in Morocco requires taking advantage of new opportunities in the oil market by acquiring Russian oil and refining it at the Samir refinery, which will guarantee to benefit from the discounts offered on Russian oil and currently high refining margins»



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