Dangote inaugurates Africa’s biggest oil refinery in Nigeria

Africa’s most famous businessman, and Nigeria’s pride and joy, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has inaugurated Africa's largest refinery. The $19 billion Dangote Oil Refinery is expected to revolutionise crude oil refining in Africa with the first product expected to get to market as fast as July 2023.

Dangote Refinery

Owned by Africa’s wealthiest individual, Aliko Dangote, the primary objective of the colossal refinery constructed by the Dangote Group is to yield an impressive daily output of 53 million litres of gasoline, 4 million litres of diesel and 2 million litres of aviation jet fuel and enough surplus for export.

The refinery was inaugurated by the outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari on 22 May 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria, and was attended by five African presidents, including President Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Mohamed Bazoum of the Republic of Niger, and President Mahamat Déby of Chad and other high-level officials.

The Dangote Oil Refinery, with a processing capacity of 650,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), located on 2,635 hectares in the Dangote Industries Free Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, employs over 100,000 people. The refinery is nestled alongside various other components envisioned in the masterplan. This comprehensive blueprint encompasses a proposed airport, a vibrant start-up community, and a blend of commercial and residential zones.

“It is clear that this event marks a milestone for our economy and is a game changer for the downstream petroleum products market, not only in Nigeria, but on the entire African continent,” said President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari, reiterating the importance of the project, said Nigeria’s economy has been stressed for many decades by the efficiency of the economic infrastructure and over a decade of insurgency.

According to OPEC, the importation of refined petroleum products surpassed exports by a staggering $58.5 billion between 2015 and 2019.

Nigeria faced numerous obstacles due to its inadequate refining capabilities, including the substantial expenditure on yearly imports and vulnerability to disruptions in domestic fuel supply.

“We have built a refinery with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day in a single train — which is the largest in the world … We decided on a plant designed with state-of-the-art technology and a scale in a capacity that will be a game-changer in Africa and the global market,” Dangote added.

The Dangote refinery’s significance lies in its comprehensive approach to resolving critical issues. It aims to double the nation’s refining capacity, fulfill the rising domestic fuel demand, and generate foreign exchange through exports, thus addressing key challenges head-on.

Dangote emphasized, “The transportation sector will benefit from a consistent supply of high-quality fuels, while our industries will gain access to essential raw materials for diverse manufacturing purposes.”

Reports reveal that the inauguration comes a decade after the business tycoon announced plans for the refinery in September 2013, when he secured about $3.3 billion in funding for the project.

Dangote himself played a part in financing the refinery’s construction, with around 50% of the funds originating from his equity investment. The remaining half was secured through debt finance from notable banks like Access and Zenith banks.

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