Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has pledged support of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government towards ensuring the completion of the historic 650,000 bpd Dangote Petroleum Refinery.
The minister stated this during an official visit to the Petrochemical complex located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
Sylva, who was led on a tour of the tefinery by the Group President/Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, and the company’s Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Devakumar Edwin, was accompanied by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Sabo Nakudu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Services/member, Senate Committee, Upstream, Senator Muhammad Musa; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari; Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Ahmed Shakur; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote; and the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Ahmed Boboi; among others.
According to him, “This is a very heart-warming moment for all of us as Nigerians. There is no way a project of this magnitude will be going on and government will not be interested. Anywhere in the world, if a citizen of a country has committed so much money into investing in this kind of massive project, government must show interest.
“I must say 4now that Dangote Group has turned this project to the story of all of us, we must all support this project to succeed, because the success of this project signals a lot. Of course, I am sure that the whole world is looking at the success of this project.
“Investors all over the world will look at the success of this project and will come to Nigeria to at least also enjoy the benefit of investing here. So, we are actually here to assure you, Dangote Group, that as a government, as NNPC, we will support this project as much as we can. You have definitely done very well.
“As you can see, the whole team is complete, and whatever your concerns are, whatever your problems are, please feel free to let us know, so that we will together find a solution to problems that you might encounter. Because of course, in project of this magnitude, you cannot expect that you will not have problems.”
Sylva said the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical was a testament that the country possesses enabling environment for businesses to thrive, adding that the success of the project would boost investors confidence in the country’s oil and gas project. He implored Nigerians to support the refinery project with a view to ensuring that it creates more value addition to the economy.
Kyari, in his remarks, said: “We are not competing with Dangote but complementing each other to boost production capacity. Our objective is the same, to make Nigeria a net exporter of crude. We can’t do this until we have complementary activities between the private sector and government.”
He added: “ln the next five years, Dangote will add 650,000 barrels, government with 445,000 barrels with others companies coming up to boost capacity.”
In his remarks, Dangote said: “We believed in Nigeria and if we don’t do it ourselves, nobody will come down to do it for us. There is three per cent growth population increase annually in Nigeria, so, apart from that Nigeria are supposed to meet the needs of West, East and Central Africa in terms of supply.”
Similarly, Edwin noted that the asset creates market for 11 billion per annum of Nigerian crude and can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products.
He added that Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer, but lacks refining capacity to meet its own fuel needs.
“The Dangote refinery, which is designed to maximise petrol output, will produce enough to allow for a small surplus of that fuel for export. It will also be able to send a large volume of diesel and jet fuel to international markets,” he said.
He disclosed that Dangote plans to take advantage of local crude supply, adding that it won’t participate in the crude-for-fuel swap deal that is managed by NNPC.
“We are going to buy the crude just at the export price and will sell our products at the import price, the crude swap is operating only for the importers of the product. The new refinery has been designed to process varieties of crude from sweet to light crude sourced both locally, and abroad.
“Dangote plans to export its diesel to Europe and gasoline to Latin America, Western and Central African markets,” Edwin said.
He pointed out that evacuation of refined products would be done by sea and through roads.
“We are thinking of investing in vessels. We want to make sure we are not held for ransom by any transport operators. Africa’s largest oil refinery had revealed that it would deliver its fuels to Nigerian consumers via roads and sea ports, and will effectively replace all of Nigeria’s fuel imports once fully operational,” he said.