The Dangote Group on Wednesday said its 650,000-barrels-per-day refinery currently under construction in Lagos would begin operations by September 2017.
The company further noted that the installation of equipment for the refinery will also commence before the end of April (this month).
The Head, Quality Assurance/Quality Compliance and Construction, DORC, Mr. Rama Putta, told newsmen that the 650,000-barrels-per-day refinery would come on stream by September 2019.
According to him, the basic engineering work has reached 98 per cent completion; the detailed engineering, 90 per cent; 3D modelling, 80 per cent; long lead items ordering, 100 per cent; bulk plates ordering, 90 per cent; equipment and bulk items, 50 per cent; and construction activities, 25 per cent.
He said the sand filling of the site was completed six months ago, adding that 60 per cent of the land was swampy.
Putta said bringing the land to three metres above the mean sea level was the biggest challenge, adding, “The sand is tightly compacted and ready for the erection of the equipment. No flood can affect our area. The surrounding area is only one metre above the mean sea level. The entire Lagos is only 1.5 metres above the main sea level.
“We dredged sand from the Atlantic Ocean, about 60 million cubic metres. The world’s biggest dredgers dredged the sand for about 18 months. It’s a big job and is completed successfully. Now, what is left is to erect the equipment,” Putta told The Punch while explaining the extent of work so far done on the refinery site.
“We need a lot of big cranes. All the equipment are going to come horizontally; they are to be put vertically. That is why to lift them, we need cranes. We need 300 cranes; 250 cranes are already here. The remaining cranes are coming from China.
“We will start erecting the refinery equipment in a week or 10 days’ time, and it will take about 15 to 20 months.”
According to him, about 3,000 pieces of equipment are required for the refinery.
He noted, “Out of that, more than 200 have already come in. They come in semi-finished shape and we will finish them off. The remaining are being manufactured in various countries, including China, India, America, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
“The challenge is bringing heavy equipment. There are 300 very heavy equipment and we have given contracts to the biggest shippers in the world to bring them from different countries.”
Putta added, “We have a jetty. All the materials coming from various countries come by ship and they get unloaded at the Apapa ports. From the Apapa port, they come here by road. Some of the equipment are very big, more than 2,000 metric tonnes, and they cannot come by road. We bring them from Apapa to our jetty by ship and we unload them.
“This refinery is going to operate at 110 per cent of its capacity at the minimum. If you don’t make 110 per cent, your profit is only 15 per cent. Majority of the refineries in the world like American refineries, Korean refineries and some Indian refineries operate at more than 105 per cent.”
According to him, the company will begin the trading of petroleum products next year ahead of the completion of the refinery.
He said the company would complete the construction of the refinery’s trading facilities in 2018 and test them by selling imported petroleum products for one year.
The facilities include storage tanks, loading gantries and single point moorings as well as pipelines.
Putta said, “In September 2018, we are going to inaugurate our trading facilities, which consist gantries for filling the trucks, and 35 tanks for storing the fluids will be ready. Every day, 2,600 trucks are going to be filled with petrol, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel.
“We will buy the products from other countries, because by that time our products will not be ready, and trade them for one year. This is to test our trading facilities. By September 2019, we will sell our own products.”