The pipeline infrastructure at the refinery is said to be the largest in the world with 1,100 kilometres and will handle 3 billion standard cubic foot of gas per day.
The inauguration of the refinery comes with high expectations in the Nigerian energy sector amid plans by the Nigerian government to remove petrol subsidy in the second half of the year. Subsidy payments steadily rose from N351bn in 2005 to N4.39 trillion in 2022, while N3. 6trn was earmarked to fund fuel subsidy for the first six months in 2023.
The government pins its hopes of ending fuel imports largely on the completion of the Dangote refinery.
In 2021, the federal government gave state oil firm, NNPC Limited, approval to buy a 20 per cent stake valued at $2.76 billion in Dangote Refinery, indicating a significant shift in government attitude.
Built by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the massive complex is one of Nigeria’s single largest investments. It has a 435-megawatt power station, deep seaport and fertilizer unit.
The refinery is expected to meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products and also have a surplus of each of these products for export. It is designed to process Nigerian crude with the ability to also process other crudes.
The refinery will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene. The management of Dangote refinery says the design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms.
The refinery is also expected to create a market for the $1 billion per annum Nigerian crude, in addition to foreign exchange earnings of $9.9bn.
The cost of the refinery grew to $19 billion from initial estimates of between $12 billion and $14 billion, after years of delays.
According to a report released by S&P Global Commodity Insights, the Dangote Refinery is anticipating the arrival of its first crude batch in June.
In its recent report titled “Refineries watch Q4 2022” Hawilti, a Pan-African investment research firm, said that the prospect of the new private refinery becoming operational could help redefine the nation’s local refining capacity.
“Both the opening of the Dangote refinery and the rehabilitation of state-owned refineries have the potential to make Nigeria Africa’s biggest refining hub by 2025.
“With all state-run refineries undergoing rehabilitation, Nigeria imports all its petroleum products and heavily subsidizes gasoline. It needs the Dangote Refinery to decrease imports, generate currency savings, fight inflation, and ultimately improve its macroeconomic outlook,” it said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the Dangote Refinery would help Nigeria’s economic recovery drive when it starts production.
“With crude oil for local refining not subject to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota, the refinery also has the potential to catalyse more domestic crude oil production and boost gross domestic product (GDP),” IMF said.
The Director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chinyere Almona, said the refinery would save and generate foreign exchange, create jobs, positively affect the value of the naira, broaden prosperity for the downstream sector and provide growth opportunities for businesses.
“The LCCI views the refinery’s impact on the Nigerian economy as significant. It will also stimulate economic growth by impacting the country’s balance of payments.
“In addition, the Chamber expects the refinery to fuel further growth and development across its value chain, including cosmetics, plastics, textiles etc,” she said.
The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, in an interview with a special edition of London-based, the Economist Magazine, said with the commencement of operation at the refinery, Nigeria could save up to $10 billion in foreign exchange and generate another $10 billion in exports.
“The refinery’s completion will not only create direct and indirect jobs but will also lead to skills transfer and technology acquisition opportunities that will benefit the downstream sector.
“Moreover, the refinery’s production of critical products like naphtha and polypropylene will stimulate the development of other industries, such as cosmetics, plastics, and textiles.
“Refineries on this scale could save Nigeria up to $10 billion in foreign exchange and generate approximately $10 billion from exports,’’ Mr Dangote said.
Among those expected at the event on Monday are president of Togo, Gnassingbé Eyadéma; Senegalese President Macky Sall; Niger Republic President, Mohamed Bazoum; and Chadian President, Mahamat Déby.
Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda are also expected to be part of the historic event.