Buhari Commissions Dangote Refinery, Petrochemical Plant At Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos, Giving Hope To Nigerians

By Lateef Adegbite

Between 2015 and now, the Nigerian government had spent trillions of naira  through   the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptized, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry PIB, by the National Assembly in 2021 and signed into Law by  Presiden Muhammadu Buhari   on August  same, 2021 or importation of petroleum products into country.

The importation of the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Petrol, Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, or diesel, Aviation Jet fuel, and Multi-purpose Dual Kerosene,  from the offshore refineries abroad into the country  may  not unconnected to the fact  that  the country’s three existing refineries located at Onne, PortHarcourt, capital of  Rivers state, Warri, Delta state and the north western city  of  Kaduna,  in Kaduna state, with a combined refining capacity of 445,000 bpd, have been working in bits and fits.

Take for instance, within the first six months of this 2023 Zainab Ahmed the outgoing minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning , had said that the   government  has budgeted   N3. 36 trillion naira for subsidy on Petroleum Products imports into the country. In 2021,  the Buhari’s Administration had spent  the North American country of the United States, US, $1.3 billion  on importing  refined products into the country  and $10 billion  in 2022 and was expected to rise $7.5 billion by mid 2023., according to s ource in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptized, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL.   

Given the huge amount spent yearly on Petroleum products importation into the country and the poor state of the nation’s refineries may have encouraged the Buhari’s Administration   as at March 2021, to approve  23 Companies  licenses  for valid refinery projects  with a total refining capacity of  1.09  million bpd as recommended by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR. Given the pressure on thepressure on the Department may have informed why it gave additional private refineries and petrochical plants lincense bring the number of valid licenses to as at May 2021, to a total of 68, with the Katsina born Nigerian President but 40 of the Companies, according to informed sources are without refinery license or approval.  

 The list of some of the private Companies granted licenses to operate refinery and petrochemical plants included Waltersmith Refing and Petrochemical Company Limited,  OPAC Refineries,  Niger Delta Petroleum Resources,(Train3), Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited, Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited, Lowrie Refinery Limited, Excel Refinery Limited,  Conodit Refinery Nigeria limited and Duport Midstream.

Others were Clairgold  Oil and Gas Engineering limited,  Ogini Refinery Limited,  Etopo Energy plc,  Gasoline Associates International  limited, NPDC/Western OML34JV, Frao Oil Nigeria Limited,  Kingdom Global  Trading  Petroleum  and Gas Nigeria limited,  and Resource Petroleum  and Petrochemicals  International incorporated.

This is in addition  to  Gazingstock Petroleum Company limited,  Amakpe  International refineries  limited, Atlantic  International refineries  and petrochemical limited,   Azikel Petroleum limited,  Allegiance Energy  and power limited  and Alexies Refinery limited.

Temipre Sylva, minister of Petroleum Resources and now All Progressive Congress, governorship Candidate , APC, in Bayelsa, former President Goodluck Jonathan  had said that  the government had equity stake  in some of the private refineries.  He had said that the government has 30% stake each   in Duport  refinery and Waltersmith while it has 20% equity shares each in  Azikel and  Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical plant.  The former minister had said   that some of the Companies issued operating license have established modular refineries like Walter Smith,  Azikel, Anoh   and Duport.  

  Aware of the adverse effect of the planned removal of the Subsidy at the end of June, this year,  may have encouraged the Nigerian President who was never tired of borrowing money from  the Multilateral Financial Institutions and the International Monetary Fund, IMF,  to source   for  $800 million grant  from the World Bank  to provide palliatives  for the vulnerable Nigerians that may be affected  that he was said to have thrown his weight on the Completion of the over  $19 billion  650,000 bpd,  refinery and petrochemical plant  located  at the Lekki Free Trade zone, in Lagos the nation’s Commercial nerve centre .

The Nigerian President and the  National Economic Council, NEC, under the Chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, may have done their  calculation based on assurance from Aliko, Dangote, the multi-billionaire President of Dangote Industries that the  refinery  first refined petroleum products will hit the Nigerian market  before the end of  July 2023 or the beginning of August 2023,  to stick to the decision of  subsidy removal on petroleum products by the end of June ,2023.

Dangote: President Dangote Industries

The multi-billionaire business mogul  who spoke at the inauguration of the 650,000bpd, refinery and petrochemical plant, on Monday, May 22, 2023,   had said that ‘’the  accomplishment of the feat   was to enable  the Nigerian government ‘’to eliminate’’  what many had described  as  ‘’the tragedy of  import dependency’’ and stop’’once and for all ‘’toxic , substandard  petroleum products  from being dumped  in the country’s market.

Dangote,  was said to have urged Nigerians not  to worry about the   650,000bpd, refinery  and Petrochemical plant working at its optimum capacity  that would give room for expansion in the future, noting that the project was the realiisation  of a clear  opportunity  for the country to take over  the African common market  epitomized by the African Continental  Free Trade Area, CfCFTA.  

Given an insider information about the multi-billion dollar, plant,  the President, Dangote Industries Limited,   had reiterated t that he plan of the Management   of the refinery and Petrochemical plant are’’ to run  at the highest  capacity  of utilization  to export competitively  to other markets   in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS,  and the wider regions,  in which  53  countries , in the African Continent out of the 55 are dependent  on  imports of  petroleum products  to meet their local markets demand.

Besies servicing the ECOWAS and Cental African sub-regions  markets,  he had said the plant  is also expected to provide provide  thousands of jobs  to the African most populous African nation’s troubling unemployment rate.

 Dangote, the Nigerian business mongol, who could not hide his feelings had said that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the President –elect, should be thanked for setting the pace  for the construction of the multi-billion dollar  refinery and petrochemical plant  for creating the Lekki  Free Trade  Zone   as part of his dream of developing  the state .

 He also expressed appreciations to Governors  Babatunde Fashola , a former  governor of Lagos state and now minister of Works and Housing,  Akinwunmi Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the incumbent governor who were said to have  sustained the dream of developing the Lekki Free Trade Zone,  for investors, both foreign and local to come in and set up their plants.

He was emphatic that that the past and present governors of the state gave the Dangote Industries’’ all the desired support and assistance they were looking for at the Lekki Free Trade Zone to execute the multi-billion dollar refinery and petrochemical plant’’.

Buhari Speaks At The Commissioning of Dangote Refinery Located At Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos

The Dangote Industries President may have given the highest accolade touhari, for his support in ensuring  the completion of the 650,000, bpd refinery and petrochemical plant which is expected to churn out thousands of tons  of PMS, AGO, Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, , among other refined products on a  daily basis.  

Energy analysts   had said that everything about the Dangote plant   by way of size has made it the first and   the largest single –train refinery in the world that cannot be matched by any offshore refinery and petrochemical plant at the United Kingdom, UK, North American country of the United States, US, Canada, Asian country of China, India, Japan, South Korea, including Germany, France, Belgium, and Netherland in Europe.

The single train  refinery and petrochemical plant which an insider  had said is expected to use  an integrated distillation unit  or one Crude Distillation Unit, CDU,  to refine  crude oil  into the various  products, that  would   help  the  Nigerian government   to achieve  macroeconomic  stability as well as eradicate  may of  the  problems  within  the nation’s oil sector like crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

Recall that in laying the Foundation ceremony for the multi-billion dollar Dangote industries  in 2022,  had said that  that  the project when completed  will boost  the effort of the Federal government  ‘’to make Nigeria  self-sufficient  in petroleum products  .

African Presidents Lauds Dangote

 Given the importance of the 650,000bpd, Dangote refinery and petrochemical plant to the ECOWAS, Economic bloc,Five West  African countries Presidents,  namely  Akufo-Ado of Ghana,  Gen. Mahamat Derby, Chad,  Mohamed Bazoum, Niger Republic,  Macky Sall, Senegal and  Faure Gnassingbe of Togo,  were said to have been line up to speak  at the commissioning  of the 650,000bpd, refinery and Petroleum chemical plant  by the Nigerian President , were said to have lauded his efforts to industrialise Nigeria and African Continent in General.

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