The Dangote Group has announced plans to raise its initial proposed refinery capacity from 450,000bpd to 650, 000bpd, to make it the refinery with the largest capacity in the world.
On completion, Nigeria would be listed as having the largest petroleum refinery in the world, Africa’s richest man and president of the Pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote disclosed that he was increasing his refinery capacity to process 650, 000 barrels per day, thus making it the single largest stream in the world.
Dangote said that though the initial plan was to have 450,000 bpd refining capacity, but that he has since gone back to the drawing board to have a bigger plant because he believes that Nigeria as a leading producer of crude oil should also be credited with local refining capacity.
Describing the present situation where Nigeria produces crude but goes abroad to buy refined products as unacceptable, Dangote who spoke through his Group Executive Director, Devakumar Edwin said that Dangote refinery was ready to reverse the trend just as it has successfully done in other sectors like sugar and Cement.
His clarification came even as the Company’s Executive Director in Charge of Stakeholders Management and Corporate Corporation, Engr. Manure Ahmed told stakeholders in South Africa that the Refinery would run full swing from 2017.
Edwin, who spoke while receiving on behalf of Dangote, a group of oil and gas stakeholders who paid him a visit in Lagos at the weekend, also disclosed that the petrochemicals which is being developed alongside the refinery also has its capacity increased from 750,000 to 3.6 million.
Said he: “The entire petrochemical industry is history. Nobody has started with a 3.6 million tonnes capacity anywhere in the world. We are doing two million tonnes of polypropylene and 1.6 tonnes of polythene which is approximately 3.6 million tonnes which is a huge petrochemical complex.
“The consumption of petrochemical products in Nigeria and within Saharan Africa is quite limited today but in the future there will be growth. if the cement industry has not developed like this today, if we were still living with a 3.4 million tonnes per annum capacity, today we would have imported about 16 million tonnes of cement and with that you can imagine if we had imported this, it would have cost the country two billion dollars of foreign exchange.
“So that much of foreign exchange has been saved by the country and we can imagine how much of billions of dollars the country is spending in importation of products. That much of enormous foreign exchange has been conserved and the petrochemical products are exported, it will yield a huge amount of foreign exchange for the country even for us today, we are so happy and relieved that our external investment in cement has started to yield returns this year we will be able to bring back foreign exchange in terms of our earnings from these investments.”
He also dismissed fears that change in government policy could affect the business saying “we have witnessed so many political upheavals and never had any negative impacts on our business as such because our business is not dependent on any government contracts or any linkage to the government.’’