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Crude price hike: Dangote alleges IOCs frustrating refinery

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Dangote Petroleum Refinery on Tuesday announced a further reduction in the prices of both diesel and aviation fuel to N940, and N980 per

Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, has accused International Oil Companies in Nigeria of plans to frustrate the survival of the new Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals.

Edwin said the IOCs were “deliberately and willfully frustrating” the refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by hiking the cost above the market price, thereby forcing the refinery to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.

Speaking to journalists at a one-day training programme organised by the Dangote Group on Friday, Edwin also accused the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

According to Edwin, the Federal Government issued 25 licences for the construction of refineries in Nigeria, but only the Dangote Group delivered on its promise.

While calling for the government’s support, the vice president noted that more than 3.5 billion litres of diesel and aviation fuel had been exported to Europe by the refinery in the past few months.

The exported fuel, it was said, represented about 90 per cent of its production.

“The Federal Government issued 25 licences to build refineries and we are the only one that delivered on our promise. In effect, we deserve every support from the government. It is good to note that from the start of production, more than 3.5 billion litres, which represents 90 per cent of our production, have been exported. We are calling on the Federal Government and regulators to give us the necessary support to create jobs and prosperity for the nation,” Edwin stated.

He added that though the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission was trying its best to allocate crude oil for the 650,000-capacity refinery, “the IOCs are deliberately and willfully frustrating our efforts to buy the local crude.”

The Dangote official said the IOCs sometimes made the refinery pay $6 over and above the market price, saying this has forced the company to reduce its output as well as import crude from countries like the United States at a higher cost.

He said, “Recall that the NUPRC recently met with crude oil producers as well as refineries’ owners in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure full adherence to Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligations as enunciated under section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act. It seems that the IOCs’ objective is to ensure that our petroleum refinery fails. It is either they are deliberately asking for a ridiculous/humongous premium or they simply state that crude is not available. At some point, we paid $6 over and above the market price. This has forced us to reduce our output as well as import crude from countries as far as the US, increasing our cost of production.

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“It appears that the objective of the IOCs is to ensure that Nigeria remains a country which exports crude oil and imports refined petroleum products. They (IOCs) are keen on exporting the raw materials to their home countries, creating employment and wealth for their countries, adding to their Gross Domestic Product, and dumping the expensive refined products into Nigeria – thus making us to be dependent on imported products. It is the same strategy the multinationals have been adopting in every commodity, making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to be facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense.”

“This is exploitation – pure and simple. Unfortunately, the country is also playing into their hands by continuing to issue import licences at the expense of our economy and at the cost of the health of the Nigerians who are exposed to carcinogenic products.”

It was said that even though Dangote is producing and bringing diesel into the market, complying with the regulations of the Economic Community of West African States, “licences are being issued, in large quantities, to traders who are buying the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian market.”

Edwin explained, “Since the US, European Union and the United Kingdom imposed a price cap scheme from February 5, 2023, on Russian petroleum products, a large number of vessels are waiting near Togo with Russian ultra-high sulphur diesel and they are being purchased and dumped into the Nigerian market.

“Some of the European countries were so alarmed about the carcinogenic effect of the extra high sulphur diesel being dumped into the Nigerian market that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands imposed a ban on such fuel being exported from its country, into West Africa recently. Sadly, the country is giving import licences for such dirty diesel to be imported into Nigeria when we have more than adequate petroleum refining capacity locally.”

He recalled that in May, Belgium and the Netherlands adopted new quality standards to halt the export of cheap, low-quality fuels to West Africa, harmonising its standards with those of the European Union.

These measures, according to Edwin, synchronised fuel export standards with the European domestic market, specifically targeting diesel and petrol with high sulphur and chemical content.

Historically, he recounted that these fuels with sulphur content reaching up to 10,000 ppm, were exported at reduced rates to countries like Nigeria and other West African consumers.

He mentioned that Belgium’s Minister of Environment, Zakia Khattabi, announced that his country followed the Netherlands, which in April 2023 also prohibited the export of low-quality petrol and diesel to West Africa via the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

He quoted Khattabi as saying, “For far too long toxic fuels have been departing from Belgium to destinations including Africa. They cause extremely poor air quality in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon and are even carcinogenic.”

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Edwin narrated that a September 2017 investigation by an international organisation, Public Eye, revealed that polluted and toxic fuels were being exported on a large scale from the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam for export to African markets.

He reiterated that as much as a quarter of the petrol and diesel available in West Africa originated from the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp, stressing that these fuels contain sulphur and other pollutants, such as cancer-causing benzene, in quantities up to 400 times the limits permitted in Europe.

Edwin fumed, “The decision of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in granting licenses indiscriminately for the importation of dirty diesel and aviation fuel has made the Dangote refinery expand into foreign markets. The refinery has recently exported diesel and aviation fuel to Europe and other parts of the world. The same industry players fought us for crashing the price of diesel and aviation fuel, but our aim, as I have said earlier, is to grow our economy.”

He noted that because the refinery meets the international standard as well as complies with stringent guidelines and regulations to protect the local environment, it has been able to export its products to Europe and other parts of the world.

While appealing to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to urgently intervene for speedy implementation of the PIA and to ensure the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians are protected, he remarked, “Recently, the government of Ghana, through legislation has banned the importation of highly contaminated diesel and PMS into their county.

“It is regrettable that in Nigeria, import licences are granted despite knowing that we can produce nearly double the amount of products needed in Nigeria and even export the surplus. Since January 2021, ECOWAS regulations have prohibited the import of highly contaminated diesel into the region.”

The PUNCH reports that the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had recently accused some powerful individuals of frustrating his refinery, adding that the IOCs were denying him access to crude oil.

“In a system where, for 35 years, people are used to counting good money, and all of a sudden, they see that the days of counting that money have come to an end, you don’t expect them to pray for you. Of course, you expect them to fight back.

“And I think that is the process that we’re now really going through. But the truth is that, yes, the country, the sub-region, and also the continent, of sub-Saharan Africa, need this refinery. So, you expect them to fight through non-supply of crude, non-purchase of the product, but I think it’s all temporary. We’ll get there,” Aliko added.

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Dangote recalled that he was once persuaded by a former Minister of Energy in Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, to shelve the idea of building a refinery. However, he said he told the former minister that he did not need his advice.

“Four years ago, I was in Saudi Arabia during the fasting period, and I was invited for the breaking of the fast, Dr Falih, who used to be the Minister of Energy invited me to come and break the fast with him and I went there. He just said, ‘Aliko, I heard that you’re planning on building a refinery, what capacity?’ I said 650,000. He kept quiet for a while and said, ‘You know just about 120km from Mecca, we are building one and I think I would like you to go and have a look. We as Saudi Aramco, are facing a lot of challenges and, we are proceeding with it, but my advice to you is not to do it because normally, refineries are built by major oil corporations or sovereign countries.’

“I said, ‘But Your Excellency, unfortunately, we have already started, so I’m not looking for advice.’ That was really how we continued,” he recounted.

Dangote revealed that both local and international cartels, which he described as “mafia”, made repeated attempts to sabotage the $19bn refinery project located in Lagos.

“Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact,” he said.

Dangote, who described himself as a fighter, said they tried all sorts to stop him.

“As a matter of fact, during the COVID period, some of the international banks were looking forward to making sure that they push us into default of our loans so that the project would just be dead. And that didn’t happen with the help of banks like Afreximbank,” it was stated.

The PUNCH reports that despite its huge crude oil reserves, Nigeria still depends heavily on imported refined fuel.

But Dangote recently said Nigeria would no longer import any fuel by the time he begins the sale of PMS in the third week of July.

Efforts to get the IOCs to react to the development through the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry were unsuccessful.

The Director-General, LCCI, Chinyere Almona, had yet to respond to a text sent to her on the matter up till when this report was filed after her phone number remained unreachable.

Also, the spokesperson of NMDPRA, George Ene-Ita, requested details about the claims of the Dangote official when contacted. This was sent to him, but he had yet to send a response up till when this report was filed.

Source: The Punch

Business

Why we prioritised $7.5b FX backlog clearance, by Cardoso

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CBN raises capital base for mega banks to N500bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided to settle $7.5 billion forex backlog owed, to build investor confidence in the domestic economy and build lasting credibility for the country.

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso disclosed this yesterday during the BusinessDay CEO Forum 2024 with the theme: “Leadership In Tough Economic Times”, held in Lagos.

Speaking during the Fireside discussion, the CBN boss said he was advised against making the backlog clearance a priority at the inception of his tenure, because of the impact it will have on the country’s dollar position.

“People thought, there was no need to prioritise the forex backlog clearance,” he said, “ but they failed to realise that the country was in a state of crisis, and loss of confidence.”

He said: “ Even without that, it is important, that you hold high your integrity. As a bank, your yes, must be yes, that is a big major step in building credibility. It is very tempting to push that aside, but ultimately, I was convinced that if we did not do that at that time, we would pay the price as a country.”

Cardozo said findings also showed that clearing of the FX backlog improved the country’s outlook, adding that foreign investors as well as multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank see this move as a bold intervention to improve the economy’s sustainability in the long run.

On the state of the naira, the CBN boss said that by the time he assumed leadership of the apex bank, the forex market was dominated by people who did not follow policy guidelines.

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His words: “When we assumed leadership at the CBN, we saw distortions from illicit flows, people not abiding by the rules, and it was very important we addressed that to make the market much better. We found pushback, as people who did things in a certain ways wanted to continue.

”He said at that time, a good number of investors came in, left and returned after they understood the CBN’s plans.

He said a lot of the swings in the market are beginning to settle because investors have a better understanding of the Nigerian market place.

“It is important for those on the other side to recognise that we will continue with what we are doing. We believe that with time, stakeholders are becoming more comfortable with the way the market is being run,” he said.

On the CBN’s policy that mandated International Oil Companies (IOCs) on how to repatriate their funds, he said the policy had push back.

He said the there was dialogue between the apex bank and IOCs, adding that the reassurances calmed them down, stating that more forex contributions are being expected from the oil sector.

On why the CBN insisted that retained earnings should not be part of banks’ recapitalisation capital, Cardoso said it was the need to ensure that the exercise produces resilient banking system.

“As long as I can see, the banks had enough time to prepare for this. Two years is a long time. They should take their time, no need to be in any rush. We want to build a resilient banking system, and that’s not what you would like to do overnight,” he said.

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Cardoso said the banks horizon has been expanded to accommodate different kinds of services. “We have no doubt that we must move to a more transparent system, in the banking industry, and the retained earnings exclusion will help achieve that,” he said.

The CBN chief also spoke on the rising interest rate and impact on economic growth. According to him, the interest rate is not set by the CBN, but the MPC which comprise of independent minded thinking people.

“The MPC members are people who are not given to emotion, but data. They go along with what the data say. The MPC has said their major target is to rein in inflation. We were all there when a lot of money got into the system. We saw the Ways and Means went into N27 trillion. We saw intervention funds stood at N10.5 trillion. These policies have their consequences,” he said.

He however, said that month-on-month inflation rate has dropped by 50 per cent and that remains a good signal for the economy, adding that doing things right, will help the country to achieve its desired economic growth.

Speaking on the qualities that may have contributed toward his being made CBN governor, he said it is his commitment to policies that impact positively on the lives of the people.

“One particular thing is very dear to me. As a policy maker, I am very, very committed, to one thing, and that is that at the end of the day, we make policies that impact positively on the man on the street,” he said, pointing out that listening is one very important attitude of his leadership style.

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“Also, communication is important. Nobody needs to tell you that you need to come out there to talk to the people. We have continued to talk to the media, to give an idea on the way forward,” he stated.

Source: The nation

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Dangote Refinery seeks fresh 11 million barrels US oil amid Nigeria’s struggles

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Dangote Petroleum Refinery on Tuesday announced a further reduction in the prices of both diesel and aviation fuel to N940, and N980 per

The Dangote Refinery has announced plans to acquire an additional 11 million barrels of crude oil from the United States, in a move that underscores Nigeria’s persistent oil production challenges.

The refinery, a cornerstone of the country’s ambition to become a net exporter of petroleum products, has found it necessary to supplement domestic supply with imports to meet its operational needs.

In a tender seen by Bloomberg, Dangote purchased five million barrels of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude for delivery next month and in September. The company also started a tender process in which it’s looking to buy a further six million barrels of American crude for September.

The refinery near Lagos mostly runs on local crude supplies that can reach the plant from offshore terminals in as little as a couple of days.

It took in more than 41 million barrels of feedstock in the first half of the year as it completed test runs and gradually increased processing rates, tanker-tracking data show. Of that, about a quarter has been American supply.

Aliko Dangote, the chairman of Dangote Group said the refinery will continue to import crude oil as his refinery scales up production and seeks alternative supply contracts.

“It also makes economic sense for us to tender for crude. If we could source 100 percent Nigerian crude, then fine, but we can’t wait,” Dangote said at the Africa CEO Forum 2024.

“There is a bit of a problem for us to source the entire volume of crude that we’re looking for domestically because we need different types and mixes. Unless crude production improves – which we pray and hope for – we need to go elsewhere,” Dangote added.

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According to CAS, the refinery took delivery of 11 WTI cargoes, or 9 million barrels, between February and May, contrasting with around 18 million barrels of Nigerian crude deliveries.

Now, the move to secure a longer-term offtake agreement signals a commitment by the refinery to more permanently diversify its crude sources, coinciding with a period of extreme demand weakness for Nigerian supply.

“It’s a little surprising that they are seeking term WTI at this stage,” said one West African crude trader, noting demand weakness that pushed Nigeria’s flagship Bonny Light crude to a discount to Dated Brent for the first time since November on May. 17.

Nigeria’s state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), also 20 percent equity holder in the project, has been widely expected to supply the bulk of Dangote’s crude demands, selling to the refinery in USD due to its location in the Lekki free zone.

But findings showed NNPC has struggled to meet its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil obligation to acquire a 20 percent stake in the Dangote Refinery.

The nation pumped about 1.28million barrels a day of crude and liquids in June, still far below its estimated production capacity of 2.6 million barrels a day. Crude theft, aging oil pipelines, low investment, and divestments from oil majors operating in the West African nation have all contributed to declining production.

Despite various assurances by the federal government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) of meeting the country’s Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota, Nigeria recorded an estimated 30 million barrels underproduction in the first four months of 2024.

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Despite massive spending to curb insecurity in the Niger Delta by the NNPC and the federal government, oil theft, assets vandalism and outright sabotage are rampant in the area where Nigeria extracts its oil from.

The country currently has a multi-billion-naira contract with local security groups in the region aside from the huge spending on the official security agencies deployed to curb the menace in the area.

Source: Business Day

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Monetary policy rate hikes stabilised the economy — Cardoso

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Central Bank of Nigeria

Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has said that the Monetary Policy Committee’s hikes in interest rates were timely in stabilising the economy.

Speaking at the ongoing CEO Forum on the topic, ‘Revitalising Nigeria’s economy: strategic monetary policies for economic growth’ hosted by BusinessDay Media, he stated that the MPC is focused on taming the inflation rate and stabilising the naira.

He said, “The MPC is not oblivious to the fact that the country does need growth. If these hikes hadn’t been done at the time, the naira would have almost tipped over, so it helped to stabilise the Naira.

“Interest rates are not set by the CBN governor but by the MPC committee composed of independent-minded people. These are people not given to emotion but to data. The MPC clarified that the major issue is taming inflation, and they would do what is necessary to tame it.”

The Monetary Policy Committee has raised the MPR by a total of 650 basis points, bringing the rate to 26.25 percent in May 2024. According to the CBN governor, the hikes were necessary to soak up excess liquidity in the economy and will be short-lived, as the month-to-month inflation rate has already declined by 50 percent in 6 months, showing results.

“Sadly, we have a situation where ways and means soared to N27 trillion and interventions went to N10.5 trillion. Those have consequences. In a large respect, that’s what we’re paying for now. It is also a timely issue. It’s not something that I expect will remain with us forever. The ability to soak up the excess liquidity over time is also important to the MPC,” he said.

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Speaking on the issue of FX Volatility, Cardoso stated that the bank had to correct some dysfunctions in the financial system, such as illicit flows and people not abiding by the rules, to ensure market stability.

“Sometimes, there’s pushback from those who want to continue doing things a certain way. There’s also that need to show people that there will be consistency in our ways before the market will settle,” he said.

He noted that timely communication and market transparency have restored stakeholders’ confidence.

“There is no more front-loading of FX requests. Even the portfolio investors who left came back again. They were comfortable that there was a plan and that the plan was headed in a certain direction. These dysfunctions are beginning to smooth out due to the confidence and transparency seen in the markets,” the CBN governor said.

Source: Business day

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We’re here to stay, says Guinness

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We’re here to stay, says Guinness

Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Adebayo Alli, has said the company is not planing to leave the country.

Alli noted the Guinness is improving despite challenges.

He hailed the firm’s trade partners for their collaboration towards its objectives, which have sustained its growth.

Alli spoke at a two-day event to mark Guinness Nigeria Trading Year 2024, which featured a conference/business meeting, gala and award night, at Eko Convention Centre, Lagos.

He applauded the partners, drawn from for their doggedness, despite challenging economic climate, saying Guinness has continued to experience exponential growth.

The managing director unveiled Guinness Nigeria’s new mission: “GN Transformed: Winning Differently,” allaying fears it may leave Nigeria.

Alli said: “We want to thank our partners for dedication to our business this past year.

“We know it hasn’t been smooth sailing, but your support has sustained our growth.

“Despite a challenging economic climate with inflation, currency issues, and lower consumer spending, Guinness Nigeria has grown.

“Moving forward, we will work with our partners to create products for Nigerians…’’

Introducing the mission statement for 2025, Commercial Director, Olusanya Adesanya, noted: “Guinness does not win alone. We win with our partners, customers, consumers, and communities.”

Adesanya said the mission reflects Guinness’ commitment to innovation, customer-centricity, resilience, empowerment, and growth.

Highlight of the awards was recognition of trade partners and employees.

Top performers received cash for their sales achievements and performance.

Among awards presented was CEO Award for Employee of the Year, won by Head of Commercial Finance, Mrs. Chinenye Alawode. Dr. Edmond Okafor of Eddinho Nig, was named Overall Best Distributor.

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Source: The Nation

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Naira falls to N1,561.98/$1, lowest level since March 2024

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The naira has experienced a notable depreciation on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) window, falling to N1,561.98/$1

The naira has experienced a notable depreciation on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) window, falling to N1,561.98/$1 on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

According to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange, this represents a 2% decline from the N1,532.58/$1 recorded the previous day.

This marks the third consecutive depreciation of the naira, occurring despite stronger external reserves and rising foreign exchange turnover.

The currency’s value has now reached its lowest level since March 18, 2024, when it stood at N1,597.25/$1.

The recent depreciation brings the naira perilously close to the N1,600 mark, occurring less than three weeks after it crossed the N1,500 threshold.

This trend raises concerns about the currency’s stability and the broader economic implications for Nigeria.

 

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Senator proposes gold reserve bill to help CBN curb inflation, stabilise naira

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Senator proposes gold reserve bill to help CBN curb inflation, stabilise naira

A bill proposing the use of gold by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to curb inflation and stabilise the naira has passed second reading in the senate.

Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, a senator of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Kogi Central, proposed the ‘Gold Reserve Bill’ to formalise the bank’s role in the gold industry.

The bill proposes a series of policies that would designate the bank as the off-taker of all gold produced in the country.

The senator proposed setting up a gold reserve authority which will ensure the regular supply of gold to the CBN for the maintenance and management of the Nigerian gold reserve.

The bill said the CBN governor will chair the gold reserve management committee.

Part of the bill said the objectives of the CBN will be to “ensure the stability of the national economy by using gold reserves as a financial anchor, providing a secure foundation for currency value and overall
economic health”.

It also said CBN will manage Nigeria’s gold reserves to mitigate inflation and deflation risks, thereby contributing to stable currency values and price levels in the country.

Another objective, according to the bill, is CBN will utilise the “gold reserves to support and stabilize the national currency in the foreign exchange market, ensuring a favorable position in international trade and finance”.

In the draft, the lawmaker proposed that CBN shall ensure, at “all material times and from time to time,” that its external assets consisting of gold coins or bullion are not less than 30 percent of its total
external reserve.

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Also, the bill seeks to exempt the importation of plant, machinery, equipment and accessories specifically and exclusively for gold mining operations from customs and import duties.

Since taking office in May 2023, President Bola Tinubu has sought to transform Nigeria’s mining industry to attract investors.

On June 23, Dele Alake, minister of solid minerals development, presented refined gold bars to the president, saying the first transaction of the commodity added $5 million to Nigeria’s external reserves.

Alake said the refined gold will be sold to the CBN to bolster foreign reserves.

Source: The Cable

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