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Dangote’s fertiliser plant, world’s biggest, begins commercial production in May

Dangote Fertiliser Plant

President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has announced the world’s biggest fertiliser plant located in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos Nigeria will begin full commercial production in May 2020.

With a capacity of 3million tonnes per annum, the $2-billion Granulated Urea Fertiliser plant has been classified as the biggest project in the history of the fertiliser industry.

Speaking during a tour of the facilities with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Dangote told journalists that the fertiliser plant  which will begin operations fully in May 2020 will also be one of Nigeria’s highest foreign exchange generating companies going forward.

This project means Nigeria will be the biggest and only Urea exporter of about 4 million in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa which will bring in about $2.5 billion in terms of forex.

“I think we must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his policies. I thank the CBN governor and management for bringing down interest rates to encourage more entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this,” Dangote told journalists at the facility.

The CBN governor, Emefiele, said the fertiliser plant would stop importation of fertilisers, as about 25 per cent of its products would be used for domestic consumption to boost agriculture in the country, while the remaining 75 percent would be exported.

According to him, the plant will also generate a minimum of $750 million through export annually.

He disclosed that apart from the low-interest rate regime, the government was also putting other policies in place to rejuvenate industries and create employment opportunities for the citizenry.

Already, Dangote Fertiliser has started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited under the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement to supply 70 million standard cubic feet per day (Scf/d) of natural gas, the company said.

The project is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the construction and related fields as well as provide a major boost to the agricultural sector by significantly reducing the importation of fertiliser in Nigeria.

Concerning the 650,000BPD-capacity refinery, Emefile noted “when operational, the refinery will not only satisfy local consumption but will also position Nigeria as a major exporter of petroleum products”.

“Nigeria is so central, and this refinery will serve almost the whole of Africa, which will lead to cheap cost of freight. This project is so strategically positioned that it will even make the final price of petroleum within Nigeria and even outside Nigeria to be lower than those imported outside the African continent,” Emefile said.

Nigeria currently imports the majority of its refined petroleum due to a lack of domestic refining capacity in the country. With this new facility, Nigeria’s refining capacity will double and help in meeting the increasing demand for fuels while providing cost savings.

The refinery’s location at Lekki Free Trade Zone along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean will allow for smooth transshipment of refined petroleum products to international markets, and ultimately eliminate the overreliance of fuel import from other regions into Nigeria.

Estimated to cost about $18billion, the refinery will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene. During different phases of the project, a total of 4,000 direct and 145,000 indirect jobs will be generated. International and local contractors like MAN Diesel & Turbo, Schneider Electric, C&I Leasing, Honeywell UOP, and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction has benefitted from the building of the refinery.

Similarly, the high unemployment rate in Nigeria which is estimated to reach 33.5 percent this year will diminish as the refinery is set on employing citizens of the country especially young people to handle different areas in the facility.