By Udeme Akpan
West African nations have started putting arrangements in place to enable them import petroleum products from Nigeria’s $12 billion Dangote refinery, barely two years ahead of its planned completion in 2019.
Investigations by Vanguard showed that the nations which currently depend on the international market for supplies would be interested in importing commercial petroleum products from Nigeria because of proximity.
Some participants from Benin Republic and other nations who were in Lagos for the just concluded Oil Trading and Logistic Downstream Week who preferred not to be named because they were not permitted to speak disclosed in separate interviews that their nations looked forward to the 650,000 barrels per day refinery for supplies.
Referring specifically to Ghana, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, the Deputy Minister of Energy said that it was interesting to know much about the $12 billion Dangote plant and the impact it would make in the region.
Adam stated that the completion of the project would culminate in the integration of the downstream industries, lower cost of business and reduce the prices of petroleum products across the sub-region.
The Deputy Minister of Energy invited investors in the sub-region to take advantage of Ghana’s favorable petroleum market environment and invest in infrastructure such as oil jetties, pipeline and distribution infrastructure, refineries and gas processing plants, storage and loading gantries.
“Our unique geographical position, democratic stability and security require that we provide leadership in building an integrated infrastructure to serve the sub-regional petroleum industry.
“The National Petroleum Authority Act, passed in 2005, has also created a reliable legislative and regulatory regime that has delivered for the country a downstream industry, whose contribution to the economy has grown more than four-fold, with private players – both local and international – forming a major part of the industry.
“The government of Ghana is currently developing a Downstream Petroleum Infrastructure Master plan, aimed at enhancing the pace of infrastructure sourcing with a regional context in mind.”
The Deputy Minister of Energy said Africa has suffered infrastructure deficit ranging from inadequate and deplorable states of infrastructure such as ports, jetties and tank farms which has increased cost of importing products.
Investigations showed that work was ongoing on many aspects of the Dangote plant which the Federal Government looks forward to meeting domestic consumption from 2019.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, who visited the Dangote oil Refinery at Lekki free trade Zone, in Lagos had said the government would support efforts toward its completion.
”It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigeria’s problems with a project as big as this. 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 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 crystalizing 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.”
The President of Dangote Group, had also stated: ”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.
“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.
“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support”
“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. We also plan to construct a 570 MW power plant in this complex. As a matter of fact, gas from our gas pipeline will augment the natural domestic gas supply and we estimate an additional 12,000MW of power generation can be added to the grid with the additional gas from our system.
“We will be adding value to our economy as all these projects will be creating about 4,000 direct and 145,000 indirect jobs. We will also save over $7.5billion for Nigeria annually, through import substitution and generate an additional $5.5billion per annum through exports of the refined petroleum products, fertilizer and petro chemicals. We envisage that these projects, which would cost over $18billion, would be completed in 2019.”