In a significant development, the first crude feedstock for Dangote’s monumental 650,000 barrels per day (b/d) refinery has arrived in Nigeria, marking a crucial step toward the commencement of fuel production. The $19 billion facility, a private venture by Dangote Group, has faced years of delays, but recent events indicate that its operational launch is finally on the horizon.
Market sources and tanker tracking data revealed that the OTIS tanker carried a cargo of 950,000 barrels of Agbami crude, arriving at the refinery’s terminal on Thursday after loading on December 6. The Suezmax tanker, chartered by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), is the inaugural vessel delivering crude supplies to Dangote’s new plant, as it gears up for full-scale operations, according to a West African oil trader.
While the refinery was officially completed in May, its production had been hampered by a lack of domestic crude feedstock. The NNPC, holding a 20% stake in the refinery, recently agreed to supply 6 million barrels of crude oil as feedstock for the month of December.
Agbami crude, sourced from one of Nigeria’s largest deepwater developments and operated by Chevron, holds a significant role in this initial supply. Known for producing light sweet crude with specific gravity and sulfur content, Agbami is expected to contribute to the successful start of Dangote’s refinery operations.
The NNPC has chartered additional tankers for transporting more crude shipments from offshore fields to the refinery later this month, signaling a sustained commitment to providing the necessary resources for Dangote’s operations.
Despite repeated delays since the project’s unveiling in 2013, with key units installed in 2019, the refinery’s crude distillation unit is designed to process 12 crudes simultaneously, including three Nigerian grades—Escravos, Bonny Light, and Forcados. Once fully operational, the plant aims to produce 327,000 b/d of gasoline, 244,000 b/d of gasoil/diesel, 56,000 b/d of jet fuel/kerosene, and 290,000 mt/year of propane/LPG.
Dangote’s refinery is poised to play a pivotal role in meeting Nigeria’s energy demands and is expected to contribute significantly to the nation’s refining capacity once fully operational. The arrival of the first crude feedstock marks a milestone in the refinery’s journey toward becoming a key player in the region’s oil and gas sector.