Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has said “the first product of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals will be in the market before the end of July, beginning of August this year.”
The billionaire businessman said the project was the realisation of a “clear opportunity” for Nigeria.
He stated this during the official commissioning of the 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery at Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos State, on Monday.
According to him, the facility has the capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil (plus 900,000 tonnes of polypropylene) in a single train, which is the largest in the world.
“We have selected the best plants and equipment and the latest technologies from across the world.
Furthermore, he stated that the country’s coastal location and offshore loading and offloading (SPM) facilities with a capacity to receive all its crude oil supplies and evacuate up to 75 per cent of liquid products, offer the facility direct access to the rest of Africa and the global market for exports.
He said the group’s huge investment of over $18.5billion in the oil and gas industry has been prompted by the desire to support and contribute its quota to the Federal Government’s sustained effort to transform the economy and properly position the country as the leading nation in Africa, and a respected member among emerging economies in the world.
“This commissioning ceremony is just the beginning of a great journey, a milestone in a new and exciting trajectory for the downstream sector of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry. It is our firm commitment that we will replicate in this sector, what we have achieved in the cement and fertilizer markets, where Nigeria transited from being the largest importer of these products to a net exporter.
“Beyond this, we intend to ensure that our plants are run at the highest capacity of utilisation and the highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets, especially in the ECOWAS and wider regions in which 53 countries out of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products demand.
“Beyond today’s ceremony, our first goal is to ramp up production of the various products to ensure that within this year, we are able to fully satisfy our nation’s demand for high-quality products to enable us to eliminate the tragedy of import dependency and stop, once and for all, the dumping in our market of toxic sub-standard petroleum products. Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, our first product will be in the market before the end of July this year,” Dangote said.
He added that the group intended to ensure that the plants are run at the highest capacity utilization and highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets, especially in the ECOWAS and the wider Africa region in which 53 countries out of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products demand.
Speaking on the refinery’s benefits, Dangote said that beyond the constant availability of high-quality fuels for the Transportation sector, the Refinery will also make available to local industries, vital raw materials for a wide range of manufacturers in the plastics, pharmaceutical, food and beverages, packaging, construction, and many other industries.
He added that while the Refinery operation and ancillary business will generate massive job opportunities, the downstream value chain will equally provide far more absorptive capacity for labour in hundreds of thousands.
Another benefit he noted is that once the plant is fully onstream, it is expected that at least 40 per cent of the capacity will be available for export and this will result in significant foreign exchange inflows into the country.
“Overall, we are committed to operating our Plant in line with international best practices. Recognizing the importance of protecting the environment, we have adopted stringent environmental, health and safety policies to ensure that the Refinery operates in a safe and sustainable manner,” he added.
He said that the achievement will allow Nigeria to end the agony of import dependence and put an end to the “once and for all” dumping of harmful, subpar petroleum products into the Nigerian market. Citing the African Union’s commitment to the construction of an African single market through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Dangote claimed that the initiative represented the realization of a “clear opportunity” for Nigeria.
Dangote thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and “for being a source of inspiration whenever he felt like giving up.
“Also, the products slate is designed to meet the highest quality standards of high-value products including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel), Aviation Turbine Kerosine (ATK), all of Euro V Standards that will enable us not only meet our country’s demand but also to become a key player in the African and global market,” Dangote stated.