Nigeria’s Dangote oil refinery is set to initiate test runs this week, marking a significant milestone after years of anticipation. The 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) facility, funded by Africa’s wealthiest individual, Aliko Dangote, at a cost of $20 billion, is located in Lekki, on the outskirts of Lagos, the commercial capital.
Reuters reported that the refinery received its sixth crude cargo on Monday, totaling 1 million barrels from the Agbami field in the Niger Delta, the refinery is set to undergo test runs, particularly focusing on starting up the crude distillation unit, a crucial component.
Upon completion, the Dangote refinery aims to make Nigeria self-sufficient in fuel production and enable the export of fuel to neighboring West African countries.
This development could potentially reshape oil trading dynamics in the Atlantic Basin, challenging the dominance of U.S. and European energy companies in the African market.
A senior company executive for Dangote confirmed to Reuters that the next step is to initiate the crude distillation unit startup, likely commencing this week. The subsequent process involves continuous crude purchase and commissioning of other refinery departments.
The executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, “Saleable products will start coming from the first week itself. But, of course, the volume will be limited and the variety of saleable products will also be limited and it will start building up, as each major department gets commissioned.”
While experts note that the transition from test runs to full-scale production can take months, Dangote plans to start refining 350,000 bpd initially, with the goal of reaching full production later this year. This development holds substantial significance for Nigeria, which currently relies on fuel imports and could now potentially become a major exporter in the West African region.