Oil & Gas

Salvaged From Ignominy: World’s Largest Single-Train Dangote Refinery Comes Alive In Nigeria

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

THE perennial fuel scarcity of shame and ignominy being suffered by Nigerians in spite of having in its kitty, three refineries, may soon be over following Monday’s inauguration of Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Nigeria.

The privately-owned billion-dollar initiative belonging to world’s wealthiest Black man, is coming alive less than 10 years the construction started.

President Buhari, during the inauguration of the staggering 2,635-hectare facility, described the establishment of Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and Petrochemicals as a game-changer and milestone for Nigeria’s economy.

According to Buhari, the Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State-based complex – described as the largest single-train facility in the world with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels of crude a day – would enable the country to attain self-sufficiency in the refined products and a surplus for export.

“This clearly makes this event a notable milestone for our economy and a game changer for the downstream petroleum product market not only in Nigeria but the entire African continent,” he quipped.

The President added that the country’s economy has been stressed for many decades by huge deficits in economic infrastructure and over a decade of insurgency.

He said the country had also been severely affected by several external crises, including the global financial crisis, the collapse of oil prices, the coronavirus pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine War.

“The consequences of these challenges constitute a severe strain on our economy, limiting the government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to huge borrowing.

“He said the government must therefore pay attention to creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments, not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors,” he stated.

Stonix News, however, recalled that President Buhari, during his presidential campaign prior 2015, had reportedly promised to build a refinery per year just as he tagged the subsidy regime a fraud!

Barely eight years into his administration, the retired General has yet to repair the existing three refineries, let alone build new ones to bury the plague of fuel scarcity, the fuel subsidy regime and their attendant woes.

Beaming with smiles of accomplishment, Aliko Dangote mounted the podium before hundreds of guests and thousands more watching from across the world in his sweeping black agbada, painting a picture of the continent of the Black race, his home, and relishing how his products will soften life for the people across Africa and the globe.

In his welcome remarks at the event, the billionaire revealed that the first product of the $12 billion facility “will be in the market before the end of July, beginning from August this year.”

“Beyond today’s ceremony, our first goal is to ramp up production of the various products to ensure that within this year, we’re able to fully satisfy our nation’s demand for higher quality products,” he said.

Dangote thanked Buhari for his support and for being a source of inspiration whenever he felt like giving up.

He also appreciated the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele for “moving mountains” in the course of the project.

According to him, the accomplishment is to enable Nigeria to eliminate what he described as the tragedy of import dependency and stop — “once and for all” — toxic, substandard petroleum products from being dumped in Nigeria’s market.

“Beyond this, we intend to ensure that our plants are run at the highest capacity of utilisation and the highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets, especially in the ECOWAS and wider regions in which 53 countries out of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products demand,” he added.

Speaking at the event too, President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, said the accomplishment was highlighted by the “huge” prospects of the “gigantic” project for reversing Nigeria’s reliance on imported petroleum products.

The refinery will also generate a “humongous” quantum of jobs and stablise the naira,” he noted.

Arguing that it is safe to say Dangote Refinery will be the most consequential single project to come on stream in recent times, the President-elect stated that the factory was bound to leave a sizable impact on the growth and development of the country’s economy, while positively influencing the lives and wellbeing of the people.

“Therefore, on behalf of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I heartily commend and congratulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote and The Dangote Group on not only envisioning this significant project but for their courage, resilience, and team power in bringing this edifice to fruition,” Shettima said.

In attendance at the ceremony were a cross-section of African leaders such as Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Mahamat Déby (Chad), Mohamed Bazoum (Niger), Macky Sall (Senegal), and Faure Gnassingbé (Togo).

The Ghanaian leader commended the completion of the refinery, urging the audience that Africans must encourage the culture of entrepreneurship.

His Senegalese counterpart also celebrated the refinery, but did not hesitate to invite The Dangote Group and other Nigerian enterprises to expand their operations to his country.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his remarks, said Dangote came to Lagos State with nothing, adding that in 45 years, the businessman had been able to build an empire.

“Dangote has put Africa on the global map and we are proud of his achievements,” the Lagos governor quipped.

Emefiele, while enumerating the benefits of the refinery on the economy, noted that the factory would save Nigeria $30 billion in forex annually while generating 12,000 MW of electricity.

According to the CBN governor, the industrial behemoth would create 135,000 permanent jobs and give the economy an inflow of $10 billion yearly, saving the nation $30 billion in forex.

“It shows that Nigeria can actually produce everything they need and export surplus in the international marketplace. Creating an enabling environment for the businesses to thrive,” he said.

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