Home » Refinery owned by Africa’s richest man prepares for test runs as sixth batch of crude arrives

Refinery owned by Africa’s richest man prepares for test runs as sixth batch of crude arrives

Refinery's next chapter: Crude distillation unit set to commence operation this week

by Omokolade Ajayi
Aliko Dangote

The $20-billion Dangote Oil Refinery, owned by Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote, is set to embark on test runs this week following the receipt of its sixth and final batch of one million barrels of crude oil required for the commencement of initial operations.

Confirming the imminent test runs, the Dangote Oil Refinery issued a statement on Monday, stating, “Dangote refinery appears set to commence production of refined petroleum products with the receipt of the sixth batch of barrels of crude supplied by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”

The latest delivery, consisting of 1 million Agbami barrels of crude via MT ALMI SUN, marks the completion of the initially scheduled six million barrels consignment to be utilized in the start-up phase of the world’s largest single-train refinery.

Refinery’s next chapter: Crude distillation unit set to commence operation this week

Exactly one month ago, the refinery received its first one million barrels of Agbami crude grade from Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited. Subsequent shipments, comprising the fourth, fifth, and sixth batches, were supplied by the NNPC between Jan. 2 and 8, in accordance with the refinery’s operational timeline.

The next crucial step in the refinery’s operational sequence is the start-up of the crude distillation unit, a pivotal component of the facility, as disclosed by a senior executive within the group, speaking anonymously to Reuters. The executive anticipates that this process will “most probably” commence this week. Following this, the refinery will proceed to purchase crude continuously and initiate the commissioning of other departments.

According to the executive, “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.”

Dangote Oil Refinery’s milestone towards refined petroleum production

Inaugurated in May 2023 amidst high expectations, the Dangote Oil Refinery initially faced operational delays, raising concerns about its ability to meet Nigeria’s refined petroleum needs. However, with the successful arrival of the crude shipments, the refinery is now poised to fulfill its commitment to supply gasoline to the country.

The Dangote Petrochemical Complex boasts a 650,000 barrels per day capacity and projects an annual revenue of $27 billion at full capacity. It is positioned to meet 100 percent of Nigeria’s demand for all refined petroleum products, including petrol, diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel, with surplus production for export.

Initially focusing on producing diesel, aviation fuel, and gas, the refinery plans to gradually introduce petrol production in later stages. Having received a license in November 2023 to refine over 300,000 barrels of Nigerian crude daily, the facility aims to process 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day initially, with plans for a subsequent increase to its maximum capacity of 650,000 barrels per day.

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