A mega-refinery built in Nigeria by billionaire Aliko Dangote has received its first barrels of crude oil, an “important milestone” in a project that has been plagued by delays and aims to fully meet the country’s fuel needs, the company announced on Saturday.
Since Friday, one million barrels from the Agbami offshore oil field, off the Niger Delta, have been unloaded by ship at the refinery located in the Lekki free zone, east of Lagos, the economic capital.
“This is an important milestone”, said Aliko Dangote, who founded Dangote Petroleum Refinery, in a statement released on Saturday, adding that “the next big step will be to get our products to the Nigerian market”.
Initially scheduled for “late July, early August”, oil refining should enable Nigeria to put an end to frequent fuel shortages, and also increase the quality of fuel in circulation.
Nigeria (population 215 million) is one of Africa’s biggest oil producers, but imports almost all its fuel due to the failure of its state refineries, and fuel shortages plague the daily lives of its inhabitants.
Launched in 2013, the $18.5 billion-plus industrial project (double the initial cost) is “the largest single-train refinery in the world”, according to the Dangote Group, and should, at full capacity, have the largest crude refining capacity on the African continent.
The facility is expected to refine 350,000 barrels per day initially, rising to 650,000 when fully operational, and to produce diesel, jet fuel, automotive fuel, and liquefied petroleum gas.
A further 5 million barrels are scheduled to come on stream in the coming weeks.
The industrial site has been built next to the new Lekki deep-water port, which is intended to relieve congestion at the Port of Lagos, but also to export some of Dangote’s refined oil to other African countries.
According to Mr. Dangote, eventually “at least 40% of the refinery’s capacity will be available for export, which should result in significant foreign exchange earnings for the country”.
Source: AfricaNews 10th December 2023