• en

Game Changer: Seven African Presidents Join Buhari to Open Dangote Refinery

The 650,000bpd facility is set to alter international energy landscape and end petrol smuggling in Nigeria.

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, will play host to many oil and gas industry heavyweights who would be arriving the city from different parts of the world to witness the inauguration of the world’s largest single-train refinery, a 650,000 barrels per day facility built by Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, which is set to hold on Monday.

THISDAY learnt, on Sunday, that the refinery, which will be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari and seven African presidents, would alter the international energy landscape and try to sanitise the country’s petroleum sector by ending the smuggling of imported petrol outside the country.

Presently, 80 per cent of fuel in Africa, from Cape Town to Dakar and other parts of the continent, are imported. This, the refinery is expected to address.

Expected at the historic event, apart from international dignitaries, are presidents of Togo, Gnassingbé Eyadéma; Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; Senegal, Macky Sall; Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum; and Chad, Mahamat Déby.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who would not be physically present, would present his goodwill message virtually.

At the time of filing this report, all the 36 state governors and most of the governors-elect, ministers, senators, and captains of industry in Nigeria and others from outside the country had indicated their readiness to grace the ceremony.

Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, whose administration as the governor of Lagos, in 2002, floated the Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, where the refinery is located, is also expected at the event.

The Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, described the facility as, “A continental game changer with huge capacity to positively transform Nigeria and African economy.”

President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah, disclosed that the bank was the largest financer of the over $19 billion Dangote Refinery, the world’s biggest petroleum refining facility that would come into operation this month.

Renowned economist and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, noted that the Dangote refinery could help strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomic stability, when fully operational.

A source told THISDAY by telephone that many top guests from Nigeria, including ministers, governors, senators, as well as heads of relevant government agencies and establishments were being expected.

According to the source, global commodity traders in the oil and gas industry, including Singapore-based Trafigura, one of the world’s largest independent traders of oil and petroleum products; and Vitol, a Swiss-based Dutch multinational energy and commodity trading company, would all be in attendance.

“A lot of people are coming: governors, senators. This one is like the highpoint of inauguration; it’s an inauguration week. All these oil traders -Trafigura, Vitol and others will all be there,” the source said.

Some of the big names expected to attend the inauguration from Nigeria include Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe; and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Mr. Ahmed Farouk.

Others are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Gabriel Aduda; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo; and Femi Otedola, among others.

Representatives of downstream associations, including Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN); Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN); and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) were also invited, THISDAY learnt.

A top official of the refinery told THISDAY, “You can imagine, those that used to supply us with finished products will stop. All these traders that buy from them will also stop buying, then, they will look elsewhere where they will go and dump their crude and where they will go to sell the refined products.

“And this door has closed for them because it has been a lucrative business for them for more than 30 years. So Nigerians are supposed to be happy.

“This is the end of smuggling. The issue of people carrying products across the borders is no more. Nigeria will now be supplying crude to an authentic refinery. So whichever way you look at it, whether it’s snuggling or oil theft, it’s going to bring sanity to the sector.

“People carry all this fuel and cross to the border because they want to make some dollars, and they will tell you that local consumption is high, meanwhile the majority is crossing the borders – either Cameroon, Niger or Benin.

“You know, it’s not easy to bring sanity in any environment and any attempt to bring it, people will try to frustrate you. So, it’s a pity for anybody resisting it, the change has come. Whether they like it or not, they will fall into shape. People cannot continue to suffer for this length of time. One day, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”

According to the project’s fact sheet released by Dangote Group, the refinery located in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, covers a land area of approximately 2,635 hectares, which is seven times the size of Victoria Island.

The refinery is the biggest refinery in Africa and also the biggest single-train refinery in the world. A single-train refinery uses an integrated distillation unit or one Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) to refine crude oil into various petroleum products, as against the use of multiple distillation units by big refineries.

Due to the large capacity of the refinery, its pipeline infrastructure is the largest anywhere in the world, with 1,100 kilometres to handle three billion Standard Cubic Feet per day (Scf/d) of gas.

The refinery has a 435MW-capacity power plant that is able to meet the total power requirement of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).

The refinery has the capacity to meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all refined petroleum products, such as petrol – 53 million litres per day; diesel – 34 million litres per day; kerosene – 10 million litres per day; and Aviation Jet, two million litres per day. There is also surplus of each of these products for export.

Designed for 100 per cent Nigerian crude with flexibility to process other crudes, the refinery has a self-sufficient marine facility with ability for freight optimisation and also has largest single order of 5 SPMs anywhere in the world.

The refining plant has been described widely as a legacy project that will see Nigeria netting $21 billion per annum.

The company said diesel and gasoline products from the refinery would conform to Euro V specifications.

The fact sheet added, “The refinery design complies with World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms. State-of-the-art technology. Designed to process large variety of crudes, including many of the African crudes, some of the Middle Eastern crudes and the US Light Tight Oil.”

It also stated, “65 Million Cubic Metres of sand dredged costing approximately Euros 300 million, using the world’s largest, the second largest and the tenth largest dredgers to elevate the height by 1.5 metres, to insure against any potential impact of increase in mean sea level due to global warming. Bought over 1,209 units of various equipment to enhance the local capacity for site works.

“Bought 332 cranes to build up equipment installation capacity. Built the world’s largest granite quarry to supply coarse aggregate, stone column material, stone base, stone dust and material for break water. (10 million tonnes per year production capacity).

“Developed a port and constructed two quays with a load bearing capacity of 25 tonnes/ sq metres to bring Over Dimensional Cargoes close to the site directly. The company also constructed two more quays in the port with a capacity to handle up to Panamax vessels to export the fertiliser and the petrochemicals and two quays to handle liquid cargoes. The port will, thus, have six quays, including a Roll-on/Roll-off quay.”

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja, Peter Uzoho, Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos, Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

Follow us on: