Adewale Sanyaolu with agency report

Hopes of early resolution to the country’s low refining capacity may have been dashed as the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dangote Oil Refining Company (DORC) Limited may not commence operation until the end of 2020.

According to Devakumar Edwin, its Group Executive Director who oversees the project, the development is due to the problems of importing steel and other equipment.

Edwin said despite the delays at the congested Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos, the company could start using the refinery’s tank farms as a depot to warm up operations.

“We will be able to complete the project by the end of next year – mechanical completion,” Edwin said. The company expects fuel production within two months of completion of the refinery, which could transform Africa’s biggest crude producer from a fuel importer into a net exporter, upending global trade patterns.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, had said his 650,000 barrels per day refinery would begin operation in the first quarter of 2020.

Dangote, had last year at the FT Africa Summit in London, said he expected the technical work on the refinery to be completed by the end of 2019 and actual operation to commence in 2020.

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Last year, the billionaire promised Nigerians, especially the then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, that the refinery would start operation in 2019. However, due to unforeseen challenges, the project completion has been delayed.

Dangote explained that he had to build a new jetty to handle the delivery of heavy equipment needed to complete the project as Nigerian ports were not built to handle mega projects like Dangote refinery.

He explained that because of the environment in which the refinery is being built, he had to construct 138 kilometres of road within the area to move equipment around.

DORC Limited recently took delivery of one of the major components of its refinery equipment; the regenerator for the Residual Fluid Catalytic cracker (FCC).

Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils into more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products.

The Dangote refinery, when completed, will become the largest single train refinery in the world. The refinery, sited on 2,600 hectares of land, will produce gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel/household kerosene, slurry as raw material for carbon black, as well as 750,000 mtpa of polypropylene and fertilizer.