The Dangote Refinery has begun operations. In the early hours of Friday, the world’s largest single-train refinery, located in Nigeria’s commercial center, began operations.
This comes after the refinery received a crude supply of six million barrels this week. Previously, it had received other batches.
Despite being scheduled to open in June 2023, Aliko Dangote’s oil refinery received its first crude cargo late last year, marking the next step toward restarting the stalled megaproject.
When fully operational, the 650,000 barrel-per-day Dangote refinery, hailed as Africa’s largest of its kind, maybe a game changer for Nigeria’s economy, reducing the country’s reliance on fuel imports.
The initial run will be for diesel and aviation fuel production before moving on to petrol production.
Despite being one of Africa’s greatest oil producers and the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria relies almost entirely on imported petrol and diesel due to a lack of refining capability.
Fuel imports and subsidies depleted foreign exchange reserves at a time when Nigeria was facing declining oil earnings and foreign currency difficulties.
“Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 percent of Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet, and also have a surplus of each of these products for export,” the company said in a statement.
Situated on 2,635 hectares (6,500 acres) of land at the Lekki Free Zone on the outskirts of Lagos city, the facility incurred an estimated cost of $19 billion. Originally slated for opening in 2021, the refinery was formally inaugurated by then-President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Since assuming office in May, President Bola Tinubu has implemented economic reforms, including the discontinuation of the long-standing fuel subsidy and the floatation of the naira currency. These measures are intended to attract foreign investment and foster long-term growth.
The former governor of Lagos has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with his reform program, acknowledging that the initial effects included a surge in fuel prices, a notable depreciation of the naira, and an uptick in the cost of living.
With the commencement of production at the Dangote refinery, there are expectations for the Port Harcourt refinery to also initiate production.