By Clara Nwadinigwe
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on May 22, 2023, commissioned Africa’s largest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility – Dangote Petroleum Refinery. The refinery established by the richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, is set to revolutionise the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The project is an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, with a reported $19 billion in value. “Everything in this plant by way of size is the first,” stated Sanjay Gupta, CEO of Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals.
With a 900 KTPA polypropylene plant, the single-train facility has the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Over 10,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs will be generated through the ground-breaking project.
The power plant will function at a capacity of 435MW and have its own specialised steam and electricity producing system. With a total of 177 tank farms, a 4.74-billion-litre capacity, and 2,900 tanker loadings, it also offers a year-round operation for road loading. In addition to helping to fulfil the nation’s rising demand for fuel, the Dangote refinery will double Nigeria’s refining capacity and generate foreign revenue through exports. Statement released by the company confirmed that the facility is designed to process Nigerian crude with the ability to also process other crudes, including many of the African Crudes, some of the Middle Eastern Crudes and the US Light Tight Oil.
Located on a 2,635 hectares site on the Lekki Free Zone near the Lekki Lagoon, along the coast of Atlantic Ocean, the refinery is suited for the efficient transshipment of refined petroleum goods to international markets.
Processing utilities at the refinery include a crude distillation unit (CDU) and associated facilities, a 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. Furthermore, it houses 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 are the MECS® DynaWave® Sulphur recovery unit, the MECS® sulphuric acid regeneration (SAR) unit, and the BELCO® EDV® fluid catalytic cracking unit, and the STRATCO® alkylation unit.
Also built is the world’s largest granite quarry to supply coarse aggregate, stone column material, stone base, stone dust & material for break water (10 million tonnes per year production capacity).
Engineers India was the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. Other contractors and suppliers involved in the world-class refinery project include C&I Leasing, Hang Xiao Steel Structure Company, Jan De Nul Group, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, Sulzer Chemtech, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Mammoet, Fabtech, Schneider Electric, SOFEC, and WABAG.
The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals is a sizable project based on its production capacity, but whether it will work to its full potential or be able to meet Africa’s energy needs, are questions that can only be answered when it commences operations. In a statement made by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Founder, and CEO of the Dangote Group, the first refined petroleum products from the refinery will be available in Nigerian markets “before the end of July or the beginning of August this year”.
Clara Nwadinigwe is an advocate for energy systems integration.