Dangote refinery commences production

The facility was commissioned in May. X@Engr_Abdulmalik

The Dangote Refinery has started production. The largest single-train refinery in the world located in Nigeria’s commercial hub began operations in the early hours of Friday.

This followed the delivery of six million barrels of crude supply to the refinery this week. It had earlier also received other batches.

Although it was supposed to begin operations in June 2023, the oil refinery built by Aliko Dangote received its first crude deliveries late last year in a step to starting up the delayed megaproject.

Billed as Africa’s largest of its type, the 650,000 barrel-per-day Dangote refinery could be a game changer for Nigeria’s economy when fully operational by helping end the country’s reliance on fuel imports.

The initial run will be for the production of diesel and aviation fuel before moving on to petrol output.

Though one of Africa’s largest oil producers and the continent’s top economy, Nigeria relies almost totally on imported fuel and diesel because of a lack of refining capacity.

Fuel imports and subsidies caused a huge drain on foreign exchange when Nigeria was struggling with dwindling oil revenues and foreign currency shortages.

“Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet, and also have surplus of each of these products for export,” the company said in a statement.

The facility sits on 2,635 hectares (6,500 acres) of land at the Lekki Free Zone on the edge of Lagos city and costs an estimated $19bn.

The refinery, first scheduled to open in 2021, was officially inaugurated by then-president Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

Since coming to office in May, President Bola Tinubu has ended the long-standing fuel subsidy and floated the naira currency in economic reforms he says will attract foreign investment and build long-term growth.

The former Lagos governor has called on Nigerians to be patient with his reform programme as the initial impact saw fuel prices soar, a sharp fall in the value of the naira, and an increase in the cost of living.

As the Dangote refinery begins production, the Port Harcourt refinery is also expected to start production.