Canvasses Nigeria’s diversification from crude oil
The Dangote Refinery project is to increase the human capacity at the refinery site to 57,000 in the coming months, up from the 40,000 personnel already on the project.
Aliko Dangote, president and chief executive of Dangote Industries Limited, said the project currently employs 29,000 Nigerians and 11,000 foreigners at the 650,000 barrels per day world’s largest single train refinery project, located in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos.
The refinery project wholly privately driven, is expected on stream by 2022, and would dwarf Nigeria’s four refineries with combined refining capacity of 445,000 bpd. But all of them have been moribund for many years. In June this year, the NNPC awarded a contract to refurbish the Port Harcourt Refinery, its biggest refiner, with a capacity of 210,000 bpd.
According to Dangote, who was speaking on a recent broadcast aired on Arise TV, the ratio of Nigerian workers at his refinery is around three Nigerians to one expatriate, which he said will increase for local talent with the new additions.
Dangote, Africa’s richest man with a networth of over $12.4 billion, said the refinery project remains the biggest in Africa, and one of the biggest in the world, adding that many Nigerians were getting massive training as a way to build in-country capacity.
“When we started the project, we were supposed to bring a lot of foreign workers, but as we speak today, we have less than 11,000 expatriates. We have almost 29,000 Nigerian workers that are getting massive training. We are also creating a lot of capacity in the country, which will be of great help for future oil projects in Nigeria, most especially with the opening up of the oil industry through the new Petroleum Industry Act,” he said.
He explained that the high number of Nigerians at the refinery project meant the country can boast of human capacity needed in its oil and gas sector.
“Most of these Nigerians can compete anywhere in the world, in terms of electrical, welding, mechanical erection, etc. We have actually created massive capacity,” he added.
The business mogul, with several cement plants in parts of Africa, said construction of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery was informed by his desire to help the Nigerian federal government tackle the lingering issue of petroleum products’ importation.
Nigeria sits on over 2.4 million barrels per day of crude oil, but the country of over 200 million people imports 100 percent of all its petroleum products with a clumsy subsidy running into trillions of naira.
Dangote added that what inspired him into venturing in oil refining is India, where its entrepreneurs went ahead to create about five million barrels per day oil refinery. Yet the country does not have as much oil as Nigeria.
He said importation was not sustainable for Nigeria. He said in some places in the country there are petrol stations that are not working. “This actually pushed me into saying that this is a big challenge, which needed to be addressed urgently. Because I’m a Nigerian and if there are issues to be sorted out, I should be one of those who will bring solutions to our national problems.”
Dangote described his refinery project as an investment that would transform the economies of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. “This refinery is going to assist to transform the entire economy of Nigeria and all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It is unfortunate that all sub-Saharan African countries are importing petroleum products and this is not what it is supposed to be,” he said.
The Dangote Industries president advised the Nigerian government on the need to shift its attention from crude oil export and diversify the economy.
“If we don’t move from crude oil to something else, we will have issues as a country. This is one of the things that I took upon myself to help address in this country,” he said.
Frontpage August 26, 2019