Construction of World's Largest Single Train Refinery nears completion in Nigeria

The greenfield US$19.5b crude oil refinery and petrochemical production plant is being developed by Nigeria's Dangote Industries.

By Chriselle Moraes on
14th February 2022

The Dangote refinery site is located on a 2,635 hectares site in the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos State, Nigeria.

On completion the refinery will have the capacity to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily. It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s largest single-train facility.

The refinery includes a 440 million litre water treatment tank farm and a housing estate built for 50,000 staff and their families onsite.

Engineers India is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. Honeywell UOP supplied catalyst regeneration and dryer regeneration control systems, column trays, heat exchanger tubes, a modular CCR unit, and catalyst coolers among other equipment.

The Hang Xiao Steel Structure company was awarded a $112m contract to provide steel structure for the refinery. Jan De Nul Group was engaged to carry out land reclamation works. Mammoet, a Dutch heavy lifting and transport company, was contracted to provide heavy lifting and transport solutions for the project.

In January (2022), Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), toured the Dangote oil refinery and petrochemical plant. Back in 2014, AfDB had provided a US$300 million loan for the construction of the refinery and fertilizer manufacturing plant. The two facilities will create 38,000 jobs during the construction phase.

Speaking during Adesina's visit to the site, Dangote said “We appreciate the support of the Nigerian government, our lenders, and development finance institutions like the African Development Bank, without whom we would not have come this far. We have enjoyed a good working relationship with the Bank and this visit further encourages us.”

Dangote further stated that “Mechanical work on the refinery is complete and hopefully before the end of third quarter we should be in the market," and that ''The plant will start with a processing capacity of 540,000 barrels per day. Full production can start maybe, by the end of the year or beginning of 2023.''

The successful completion of the refinery project is expected to have a significant impact on Nigeria's foreign exchange through import substitution and substantial savings in earnings.

The refinery will meet Nigeria’s need for refined products completely in addition to which there will be a surplus for export. Following the completion of the refinery, it is estimated that by 2023, Nigeria will import zero petroleum oil products – down from approximately $50 billion current oil product imports per year.

Adesina and Dangote discussed the potential of collaboration between the African Development Bank and Dangote Industries Limited to expand business to other African countries. Possible collaboration could include the establishment of an African industrial manufacturing corps made up of engineers and other technicians who constructed the refinery. Adesina said this would be invaluable for skills sharing across the continent.

Devakumar Edwin, Dangote Group's Executive Director for Strategy, Capital Projects, and Portfolio Development, described the fertilizer plant as "Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex."

He said the fertilizer facility has two production train lines, with each producing 2,200 tons of ammonia and 4,000 tons of granulated urea each day. The first train was built and deployed in the second quarter of 2021. More than 300,000 tons of urea have been produced and sold as of the fourth quarter of 2021, primarily to export markets.  The second production train is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2022. The plant now makes Nigeria a net exporter of fertilizer.

In August 2021, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the acquisition of 20% minority stake in the project by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for US$2.76 billion. NNPC will also supply 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the refinery.

All Nigeria’s oil refineries are currently shut down, which adds further pressure on gasoline imports and costs the government a huge amount in subsidies.

The Dangote plant’s crude distillation unit will be able to process 12 crudes at a time and can specifically process the three Nigerian crude grades - Escravos, Bonny Light and Forcados. In total the plant will yield 327,000 barrels per day of gasoline, 244,000 barrels per day of diesel, 56,000 barrels per day of jet fuel, 290,000 metric tonnes / year of propane, 830,000 metric tonnes / year of polypropylene, 600,000 metric tonnes / year of slurry, 290,000 metric tonnes /year of propane and 38,000 metric tonnes / year of sulfur when fully operational.

Top Photo: Oil Refinery Plant - Stock Image (VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime)

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