Nigeria has confirmed that is heavily reliant on the Dangote refinery to fulfill its promise of ending fuel importation by 2019, and as such has asked Dangote to speed up completion before the targeted deadline.
The West African oil giant said it was willing to play a major part in ensuring Dangote gets the requisite support and government backing to speed up the process and resume refining of petroleum products before 2019.
Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Deputy Minister of Petroleum, explained that the present government had always believed that the private sector holds the ace in industrialization efforts of the government, and noted that the belief has been reinforced by what Dangote Group was doing.
“It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigeria’s problems with a project as big as this. The challenge I will give you today is that of time; I see your time for completion is 2019 December, but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.
“I have made a very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it.
“It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction and I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date.
“Whatever configurations your engineers have come up with, I urge that they go back to the drawing board and get me my refined products before your said date,” the Minister said at the visit.
Aliko Dangote, the founder of Dangote Group of Companies and the man behind the refinery, has said he will take up the Minister’s challenge.
“What the Minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country, his own version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude; you know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods, so he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5 million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.
“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support,” Mr Dangote said.
The refinery, according to him will have the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The Petrochemical Plant will produce 780 KTPA Polypropylene, 500 KTPA of Polyethylene, while the Fertiliser project will produce 3.0 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) of Urea.