by Chinedu Asadu
The federal government has urged Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote group, to make sure that he achieves his target of ending fuel importation in the country by December 2019.
Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, made the call when he visited the Dangote oil refinery site at Lekki free trade zone, Lagos state, on Monday.
He said there would be more chances of meeting the 2019 target if the group is able to complete its refinery before the date.
He also said the government was ready to play its part “as a responsible government” to assist in making sure the project is completed before the scheduled date.
“It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigerian’s problems with a project as big as this,” he said.
“The challenge I will give you today is that of time, I see your time for completion is 2019 December but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.
“I have made a very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it. It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction and I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date.
“I am sure His Excellency President Buhari will be absolutely enthused if he were to find himself, not only crystalising the policy position we have taken so far but also coming here himself to come and open a facility as big as this before the end of his first term.
“Whatever configurations your engineers have come up with, I urge that they go back to the drawing board and get me my refined products before your said date.”
Responding, Dangote said with the minister’s assurance of government’s cooperation and support, the company would do all it could to complete the refinery in due time.
He said the company would go back to the drawing board and see what to do to make the target come to fruition “by fast tracking our processes.”
“On the honourable minister’s challenge, we are going to make it by the grace of God. I am sure the minister will support us to make sure that we meet his challenge,” he added.
“What the minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country, his own version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude, you know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods, so he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.
“Since the minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support”
Dangote said the group is building the world’s largest single line refinery, petrochemical complex as well as the world’s second largest urea fertiliser plant.
He said the refinery, when completed, will have the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day with the petrochemical plant producing 780 KTPA polypropylene, 500 KTPA of polyethylene while the fertiliser project will produce 3.0 million metric tonnes of urea per annum (mmtpa).
“In addition, we are also building the largest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure in any country in the world, with a length of 1,100km, to handle 3 billion SCF of gas per day,” he said.