The Dangote Refinery has commenced production, marking a significant milestone for Nigeria’s commercial hub.
The large single-train refinery initiated operations in the early hours of Friday, fueled by the delivery of six million barrels of crude supply.
While initially slated to begin production in June 2023, the Aliko Dangote-built oil refinery got its first crude deliveries late last year, signalling the initiation of the delayed megaproject.
The 650,000 barrel-per-day Dangote refinery, touted as Africa’s largest, holds the potential to reshape Nigeria’s economy by reducing dependence on fuel imports.
With a focus on diesel and aviation fuel in its initial run, the refinery aims to address Nigeria’s fuel import challenges.
Despite being one of Africa’s leading oil producers and the continent’s top economy, Nigeria heavily relies on imported fuel and diesel due to limited refining capacity.
Nigeria faced considerable strain on foreign exchange due to fuel imports and subsidies during times of declining oil revenues and 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.
Sited on 2,635 hectares at the Lekki Free Zone on the outskirts of Lagos, the refinery comes with an estimated cost of $19 billion.
Initially scheduled for opening in 2021, the facility was officially inaugurated by then-president Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Since taking office in May, President Bola Tinubu has implemented economic reforms, including ending the long-standing fuel subsidy and floating the naira currency.
The reforms, he believes, will attract foreign investment and foster long-term growth. While calling for patience with his reform program, President Tinubu acknowledges the initial challenges, including soaring fuel prices, a weakened naira, and an increase in the cost of living.
As the Dangote refinery kicks off production, there are expectations for the Port Harcourt refinery to follow suit, contributing to the nation’s growing refining capacity.