Mr Babajide Soyode, the Technical Consultant on Refinery to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemical and Fertilizer projects would solve half of Nigeria’s crude oil refining and exporting challenges when completed in 2019.
Soyode told the newsmen in an interview on Thursday in Lagos that the 16-billion-dollar investment would ensure availability of products in the downstream sector.
He said the 650,000 barrels per day refining capacity of the Dangote Refinery, when completed, would significantly boost the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general, adding that the projects would have great multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.
According to him, the good news is that the refinery alone, when completed, can supply 95 per cent of local daily consumption of petroleum products.
He explained that “Nigeria is likely to be an exporter of petroleum products in 2019.
“Indeed, come 2019, the thick cloud of national shame will be lifted and the economic reality will crush the `Walls of Jericho” of politics and sentiments in the oil and gas industry that perpetuate a circle of poverty.
“Our target is that in the next few years from now, we hope and we believe that half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting crude to create jobs elsewhere.”
Soyode said that the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertilizers, reputed to be the biggest in Africa when completed, offered hope in the quest for diversification of Nigeria’s economy from total dependence on oil to other areas like agriculture and solid minerals.
He added that government at all levels had expressed amazement at the size of the project and had reiterated their preparedness to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He urged government to harness the potential of the private sector to make the nation’s economy recover speedily.
The technical consultant said investment in fertilizer was one sure way the diversification into agriculture could succeed “because it will amount to little if focus is directed to agriculture and fertilizers are being imported.
“If agriculture is the way to go, a critical component of that sector is fertilizer. Nigeria has more arable land than China, which now is the biggest economy in the world, we can tap into our vast land and produce what we need and even export.
“When we complete the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemical and Fertilizer, there will be opportunities to take on agriculture and say bye to poverty because more jobs will be created.”
Soyode said that the project was an ambitious one and would give Nigeria a new economic direction in the quest for diversification, as excess products would be exported to earn the country the much needed foreign exchange.
He assured that there would be market for the refined products, noting that “only three countries have effective refineries in Africa, with others importing from abroad.”
He said that when the project fully take off in 2019, it would help the country to save about 12 billion dollars spent on importation of oil.
He added that it would also save Nigeria about three billion dollars per annum forex with 11 billion per annum guaranteed domestic crude sales of 650,000 barrel per day.
He said that the company had substantial compliance to local content development, saying that most of the jobs were done by Nigerians.
“This is the biggest refinery in the world, with high level of sophisticated and fabricated technologies.
“We have lots of indigenous companies working for the projects, which makes us at least 100 per cent local content compliant,’’ Soyode said.