The official launch of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals took place in Lagos Monday, with the promoter, Aliko Dangote saying the first product of the refinery would be in the market before the end of July, beginning of August this year.

Dangote said in a welcome address that:“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 he felt compelled to eliminate the country’s dependence on imported petroleum products, as well as toxic and substandard products that were a frequent occurrence.

“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.

The refinery will be producing petrol, diesel, aviation jet fuel, kerosene and other products, the Dangote Group said in Twitter statement. Sanjay Gupta, CEO Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals,

said “everything in this plant by way of size is the first. It is the largest single-train refinery in the world.

“There is no single column which can process 650,000 barrels per day anywhere else.”

The refinery and petrochemical complex in Lekki sits on a landmass of 2,635 hectares, over three times the size of Victoria Island, Gupta said.

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Gupta added that the fertiliser plant was already in production.

At full capacity, the refinery can meet 100% of Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products and still have surplus for export.

It is designed for 100% Nigerian crude with the flexibility to process other crudes. It has a self-sufficient maritime facility with the ability for freight optimisation, while diesel and petrol from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.

The refinery design complies with World Bank US EPA European emission norms and Department of Petroleum Resources emission/effluent norms.

Industry analysts say that the refinery should put an end to petroleum product scarcity in Nigeria, as well as continuously create jobs and skills acquisition in the local workforce and help grow the local economy. The company is currently in the process of training 900 engineers in refinery operations abroad.

It will further encourage the take-off of allied businesses and services and lead to real estate development, as well as sophisticated mass transit waterway transportation. It is further anticipated that with time, the volume of business in the area would encourage investment in rail services in the Lekki Corridor, either by government directly, or by some form of private/public partnership, to facilitate business and save valuable man hours.

Industry experts warn though, that as a business concern, the Dangote Refinery products will be delivered at competitive market prices and that any thought of subsidies should be quickly dispelled.