Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, is set to commission the Dangote Oil Refinery, the world’s largest vertically integrated petrochemical complex, owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, on January 24.
The refinery, which is located in Lagos’ Lekki Free Zone, has the capacity to process 540,000 barrels of Nigerian oil per day in its first phase of operation, increasing to 650,000 barrels per day afterward.
The $19-billion project is a strategic move by Dangote and the Nigerian government to strengthen the country’s downstream industry and become a net exporter of refined petroleum products and petrochemicals by 2026.
The refinery is expected to meet 100 percent of Nigeria’s demand for all refined goods, while also having a surplus for export, creating a market for $11 billion in Nigerian petroleum products each year.
The complex will also produce 4 million metric tonnes of jet fuel per day, 65 million litres of premium motor spirits (petrol), 15 million litres of diesel, and 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas.
According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Dangote Refinery will account for more than half of Africa’s medium-term refining additions.
With Africa’s medium-term distillation additions estimated at 1.2 million barrels per day, the refinery, with a capacity of 650, 000 barrels per day, is the largest of all the refinery additions expected across Africa in the medium term, according to OPEC.
The Dangote refinery was initially scheduled to be commissioned in 2022, but it has been hampered by a variety of factors, including a lack of access to foreign currency, an ailing economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and caused delays in refinery equipment.
The commencement of operations at the refinery is a major milestone for both Nigeria and the African continent. It will not only supply much-needed refined petroleum products for domestic consumption, but it also has the potential to create a significant export market, with Dangote at the helm.