The multi-billion dollar Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals project in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, has been described by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) as an incredible industrial undertaking.
The vice president made this known during a tour of the massive project site in company of Ministers Of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Industry, Investment and Trade, Okechukwu Enelamah,
Prof. Osinbajo, who described the projects as ambitious, noted that the gas pipeline on completion will do about three billion standard cubic feet per day.
He also noted that the subsea gas pipeline was a strategic and very important aspect of the project and will run from Bonny through Ogedegbe-Olokola in Ogun State to Lekki.
He said: “Dangote Refinery is the largest undertaking in Nigeria, which is meant to refine 650,000 barrels of oil per day. By all projections, it is the largest in the world.
“The refinery will start producing in the first quarter of 2019. I think the subsea pipeline is expected to take off in 2018. It is a very important aspect of the project.
“It will boost our power supply tremendously. Certainly, for me, that is one of the most important projects that could be done in this country. It will be a major boost for industries”.
Asked how the government intends to secure the pipelines from vandals, Vice President Osinbajo assured that they will be fortified because they will be laid deep in the seas.
“It is not the type of pipeline anybody can go to and vandalise because of the way it has been devised”, he responded.
President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said an estimated $17 billion was required to complete the Refinery, Fertiliser and Petrochemicals plants in Ibeju-Lekki.
In an interactive session with journalists after the visit of the vice president, Mr. Dangote gave a breakdown of the cost of the individual components of the projects as follows: $12billion for the refinery, $2billion for the fertiliser plant while $3billion will go into laying the subsea pipeline.
The billionaire entrepreneur, who stated that $100 million was paid the Lagos State Government for the site measuring over 3000 hectares of land, added that they have spent $420million to sand fill the swampy areas.
He, however, denied allegations of disagreement with the host communities, insisting that well thought out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects have been factored into the refinery.
Dangote also denied speculation in some quarters that he received Foreign Exchange (FOREX) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), explaining that the conglomerate only got $173 million from the apex bank, which interest-on loan was taken by Dangote Industries, a holding company for the financing of the refinery.
He also disclosed upon completion, the gas plant will generate 12,000 Mega Watts of electricity, more than what the nation requires, adding that the excess will be exported to neighbouring countries.
On the benefits of the projects to the economy, Dangote said it would increase Forex earnings, reduce importation, create jobs and also reduce the price of petrol, among others.
In his remarks earlier, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, who was part of the vice president’s entourage, noted that the Dangote Group’s decision to embark on four significant projects will have great multiplier effects on growth and economy of Nigeria.
Ambode said: “What this tells us is that Lagos is on an expansive growth both on the east and west sides of Lagos.
“There is nothing we can do as a government than to commend Alhaji AlikoDangote and thoroughly support him”.
It was learnt that the petrochemical project is expected to come on stream by December 2017, the refinery in first quarter of 2019 while the gas project will come on stream by 2018.