Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) Nigeria on Monday commissioned the Dangote oil refinery – seen as a “game-changer” in terms of stopping the country’s fuel imports.
Outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the 650,000 barrel per day refinery in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in the commercial hub of Lagos, in an event attended by some West African heads of state.
The giant refinery built by Dangote Group, owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, worth $20 billion, aims to produce up to 53 million liters of petrol per day, as well as 4 million liters of diesel and 2 million liters of jet fuel. fuel daily.
Speaking at the event, Dangote described the refinery as “the world’s largest single-traffic refinery.”
The refinery is expected to solve some of Nigeria’s petroleum problems. Despite being an oil-producing nation and one of Africa’s largest oil producers, Nigeria lacks the capacity to refine its oil.
A large number of these products found in the West African country are imported from other nations such as India, Belgium, UAE and the Netherlands.
Between 2015 and 2019, the cost of importing refined petroleum products exceeded exports by $58.5 billion, according to OPEC, a group of major oil producers.
Nigeria’s lack of refining capacity presents many challenges, such as spending billions of dollars on imports annually and exposure to domestic fuel supply disruptions.
The Dangote refinery is significant because it plans to address these issues by doubling the country’s refining capacity, as well as increasing domestic fuel demand and generating foreign exchange for the country through exports.
“There will be constant availability of high quality fuels for our transport sector, the refinery will also provide vital raw materials to our industries for a wide range of manufacturing,” said Dangote, who partially funded the construction of the refinery.
About 50% of the funds used to build the refinery came from Dangote’s equity investment while the other half came from debt financing from banks such as Access and Zenith banks.
“We have built a refinery with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day in a single train – which is the largest in the world … We decided on a facility designed with the latest technology and a scale in a capacity that will be a game-changer in Africa and the global market,” Dangote added.
The refinery is located inside the Lekki Free Zone, a 16,500 hectare free trade zone, the master plan of which also includes a proposed airport, a start-up community and commercial and residential areas.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said the refinery “is more than capable of meeting all of Nigeria’s domestic fuel consumption, given its processing capacity.”
Emefiele further explained that: “Nigeria can be self-sufficient in all products that we consume and at the same time export our surplus production to the rest of the world.”
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Ado, who was also present at the event, described the Dangote refinery as a “spectacular project” that “makes West Africa better and stronger.”
The size of the refinery is seven times the size of Lagos’ Victoria Island, which sits on over 2000 hectares of land.