Nigeria’s New Refinery To Start Processing Crude Oil in 2022

On Saturday, Nigeria’s foremost businessman Aliko Dangote announced the Dangote refinery would begin operations by the third quarter of 2022.

The refinery located in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos, Nigeria is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility with a presumed processing capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (BPD).

The Dangote refinery is also expected to produce 10.4 million tonnes (Mt) of gasoline, 4.6Mt of diesel, 4Mt of jet fuel, 0.69Mt of polypropylene, 0.24Mt of propane, 32,000t of Sulphur, and 0.5Mt of carbon black feed a year.

According to Dangote, the first batch of oil processing would start at 540 000 barrels a day before reaching full capacity by the end of the year or early 2023.

Dangote oil refinery design details

The processing facilities at the Dangote refinery include a crude distillation unit (CDU) and associated facilities, mild hydrocracking (MHC) unit, a residual fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit, a naphtha hydrotreater, and a gasoline hydrodesulfurisation (HDS) unit as well as alkylation units.

The refinery complex is also said to house sulphur recovery and hydrogen generation facilities and a polypropylene unit. Comprising two steam methane reformer (SMR) units, the hydrogen generation facility will generate 200,000Nm³/h of hydrogen and steam to produce sulphur-free fuels.

Other processing units include the STRATCO® alkylation unit, the MECS® sulphuric acid regeneration (SAR) unit, the MECS® DynaWave® sulphur recovery unit, and the BELCO® EDV® fluid catalytic cracking unit.

Dangote refinery’s significance for Nigeria

Estimated to hold 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Nigeria is the second-largest oil-rich country in Africa, after Libya.

Nigeria is, however, dependent on imported refined fuel products due to a lack of domestic refining capacity. The kickoff of operations this year would enable the country to break free from the import of petroleum oil products. 

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved the acquisition of a 20% minority stake in the project by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for $2.76bn in August 2021.

There is hope that the refinery will double Nigeria’s refining capacity and help meet the increasing domestic fuel demand while generating foreign exchange through exports.

The project is also expected to generate 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs for Nigerians.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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