Africa’s largest oil refinery will not be finished until the end of 2020 due to problems importing steel and other equipment, executives at Dangote, which is building the facility in the Nigerian commercial hub of Lagos.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, imports virtually all its fuel due to sclerotic and underutilised refineries, and even the state oil company is looking to the 650,000 barrel per day (bpd) Dangote refinery to help address this.
Price caps force NNPC to import nearly all its gasoline at a significant cost and periodic fuel shortages are common.
Despite the delays at the congested Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos, a Dangote executive said the company could start using the refinery’s tank farms as a depot to warm up operations.
“We will be able to complete the (refinery) project by the end of next year – mechanical completion,” said Dangote Group Executive Director Devakumar Edwin, who oversees the project.
The company expects fuel production within two months of completion of the refinery, which could transform Africa’s biggest crude producer from a fuel importer into a net exporter, upending global trade patterns.
Billionaire Aliko Dangote, who built his fortune on cement, first announced a smaller refinery in 2013, to be finished in 2016. Dangote then moved the site to Lekki, in Lagos, upgraded the size and said production would start in early 2020.