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Dangote refinery has capacity for 70% of local demand, end imports from 2019—Ikeji

Leading oil and gas law expert and consultant, Mr. Ikechukwu Ikeji, has hinted that “All things being equal, the emerging multibillion dollar Dangote refinery will among other things, be a big game changer”.

In an interview, he told Business Hilights that the refinery “has the capacity of giving Nigeria about 70 per cent of refined petroleum needed in Nigeria daily and in the process, rest importation”.

According to him, “To a very large extent, Nigeria is going to overcome the intractable challenge of importation of petroleum products by the time the refinery is fully on stream.

To me, if government would be wise enough, and concession other refineries that are not doing well now and will not do well because their technologies are outdated, an intelligent private investor can go the extra mile and get a technology that can revive them. Government cannot have that time and courage to do so now”.

Continuing, he said “Government cannot continue to run refineries and come back to encourage private sector to build theirs. The fear is what if a government comes and musters the courage to really turnaround the refineries ant they start to produce to maximum capacity; it means that all owners of private refineries are out of business with their money stock”.

“The installed speed of output then served the country, but no matter what turnaround maintenance you carry out in any of them, you can never get maximum output because that is the life circle. They have run their life circle and are only diminishing by the day. That is why pumping money into them will continue to be a waste.

Business Hilights recalls that while conducting the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, round the facility in Lekki earlier on Monday, Dangote noted that “The Refinery, according to him will have the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day.  The Petrochemical Plant will produce 780 KTPA Polypropylene, 500 KTPA of Polyethylene while the Fertiliser project will produce 3.0 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of Urea”.

“In addition, we are also building the largest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure in any country in the world, with a length of 1,100km, to handle 3 billion SCF of gas per day. We also plan to construct a 570 MW power plant in this complex. As a matter of fact, gas from our gas pipeline will augment the natural domestic gas supply and we estimate an additional 12,000MW of power generation can be added to the grid with the additional gas from our system.

“We will be adding value to our economy as all these projects will be creating about 4,000 direct and 145,000 indirect jobs.

“On the honourable minister’s challenge, we are going to make it by the grace of God. I am sure the minister will support us to make sure that we meet his challenge”.

“What the minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country, his own version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude, you know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods, so he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.

“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support,” Dangote noted.

Explaining more on the need to grow local content, Ikeji said “Government need to encourage more private participation in downstream oil industry to grow local content that will directly affect the lives of Nigerians and give government certain levels of leverage to develop the economy”.

“I don’t see anything wrong in changing the narrative of destroying illegal refineries in Niger Delta. To me, the best option would have been to avail them with credible technology which I think is very cheap and align them into the petroleum refinery value chain,” Ikeji averred.