Dangote Refinery has said that progress at the Ibeju Lekki, Lagos-based refinery has been negatively impacted by the corona virus because many of the countries where the company sourced its equipment had been badly affected also.

As a result, the refined petroleum products from its 650,000 per day refinery under construction will hit the market by this time next year.

On the heels of workers’ unrest which hit the refinery wing in Lekki last Tuesday, Dangote Group’s executive director, strategy, capital projects and portfolio development, Mr Devakumar Edwin, stated however that the refinery has reached 80% completion.

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He also said that engineering and construction were 100 per cent over, while procurement was 98 per cent ready.

“If you look at the overall percentage completion, we are at 80 per cent. But that overall includes engineering and design, which is 100 per cent over. Procurement is about 98% over. So, it covers various aspects.

But the core activity which is going on today is construction. So, if you look at exclusively construction, we have finished 60 per cent of construction,” he said.

“So, now, we hope to complete everything – all the assembling by the middle of next year. Then, we will start the commissioning process. Middle of next year, we start the commissioning process, and it’s a huge refinery, the commissioning process may take three to four months.

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“And then with start of products coming into the market. So, by last quarter next year, we should have our products coming into the market,” Edwin said.

According to him, the group’s primary aim of venturing into building petroleum refinery was to add value to the country, especially as the nation’s foreign exchange has been getting weak over the years.

He forecasted the then forces of demand and supply will force the cost of petroleum products down.  “BUA too has announced that they are going to put up 200,000 barrels per day refinery.

And you can see a lot of cottage refineries coming up – 5,000 barrels, 3000 barrels. So as more capacity comes in, the philosophy of demand and supply will automatically act.

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“Yes, it (petrol price) will not crash in one day but with a period of time it will come down to almost half the price currently,” he stated, adding that the reason foreign exchange is just getting drained out is fuel.

According to him, 20,000 people are working in the refinery project and the group plans to employ as many as over 240, 000 people.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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