Nigeria’s Dangote, set to be Africa’s biggest refinery, to be running by 2021
Nigeria’s Dangote refinery — set to be Africa’s biggest at 650,000 b/d plant — was expected to be ready to process crude by early 2021, officials said.
The plant, being built by Nigerian conglomerate Dangote Group and which will use Nigerian crude, was previously set to come on stream in 2020. But officials said the construction will be complete by end-2020 and the plant will be operational by early-2021.
“The refinery will be ready early in 2021 and we hope to reach full capacity before the end of that year,” Devakumar Edwin, an executive director at Dangote told reporters.
Edwin said the refinery will “dedicate 53%” of the projected 650,000 b/d refining capacity to the production of gasoline. Nigeria is dependent on fuel imports for all its gasoline needs.
“We target to export surplus products from the refinery including petrol and diesel to Europe, South America and West African countries,” Edwin said.
The project received most of its key refining units such as the columns that make up the plant’s crude distillation unit reactor, regenerator and fluid catalytic cracker earlier this year.
The refinery will significantly reduce Nigeria’s fuel imports and could cap the country’s crude exports.
Representatives at Dangote Industries have previously said the plant would start up in 2020, though the target has repeatedly been pushed back.
The plant was previously slated to come on stream by the first quarter of 2019. Construction began in 2013.
Industry sources linked the revised completion date to the scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria, where oil revenues fell between 2015 and 2017 on low oil prices and limited production.
Nigeria imports around 1 million mt/month of gasoline — its four state-run refineries have a combined nameplate capacity of 445,000 b/d but are running at less than three-quarters of that.
Speaking at the plant site, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. Mele Kyari, said: “The NNPC has a duty to rally industry players like Dangote Group to achieve the long-held target of making Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products. We will support the Dangote refinery to come on stream on schedule, we will transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products by 2023.”