If latest reports out of Abuja can be believed, the completion of the Dangote Refinery in 2019 will mark a very significant milestone, and in fact a great step forward, for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
This is the latest project from Nigeria's most valuable export: Aliko Dangote. The $14 billion (Shs50.6 trillion) refinery that his Dangote group of companies are constructing is set to produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products.
The idea is that it will meet the domestic needs of Nigeria as well as providing a new export line. The most exciting possibility here is the prospect that this refinery could actually put a stop to the importation of refined petroleum products.
Currently, we are in a mad situation where we have plenty of oil and no refining capacity! In fact, we actually spent spent N2.59 trillion to import refined petroleum products lasts year. Mad.
So if built, this site will not only provide a great step forward for Nigeria but will take its place on the world stage as being the globe's single largest refinery, offering crude oil, petrochemical and fertiliser plants.
The plant is set to process 1.3 million metric tonnes per annum of petrochemical products, the fertiliser processing will produce 2.8 million metric tonnes of assorted fertiliser and the gas plant will produce three million cubic metres of gas per annum. Big numbers, big claims, but big changes if Dangote can pull this off. So it does sound like very good news and certainly represents a big investment in the local content capacity of Nigeria – something that I, and a number of authors on this site, have called for loudly. It's also set to be good news for jobs.
Apparently, the site will create over 100,000 employment opportunities and revive over 11,000 filling stations that had been shut due to supply instability too. So, if Dangote can make this happen we may be looking at the dawn of a new petrochemical age for Nigeria – matching abundance of supply with adbundance of expertise for the first time.