The Dangote Refinery has concluded plans to inaugurate its $2.5 billion fertiliser plant, targeted at boosting agriculture and conserving scarce foreign exchange, amounting to almost $1.0 billion yearly, through import substitution and export revenues, in the first quarter of 2020.
In a document obtained by Vanguard, the company stated: "Dangote Industries Limited is constructing the largest fertiliser plant in West Africa. The fertiliser complex is located at the Lekki Free Zone, LFZ, in Lagos State, Nigeria.
"Phase one of the project, which is estimated to cost $2.5 billion, is to manufacture three million metric tones per annum of urea. Fertiliser is essential for agribusiness in Africa. The coming on stream of Dangote fertiliser would surely make Africa self-sufficient in food production and a net exporter of food to the world."
It stated that the plant would later be expanded to manufacture all grades of fertilisers, including various NPK grades required for African soils and crops, adding that it would also start to manufacture special fertilizers like calcium ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate and multi grades of micro-nutrient based on customised fertilisers to meet the agronomic requirement of Africa.
Meanwhile, the company has started what it referred to as, "Market sensitisation and extension services to unlock the suppressed demand potential of Africa, improvement in access to knowledge/technical information on fertilizer issues to farming community, as well as farmer empowerment and training.
According to the company, it has started to provide soil test based fertilizer recommendation for optimum crop yield, set up soil testing laboratories to extend the soil testing facilities in various regions of Nigeria as well as provide single window services to the farming sector with extended support in terms of providing high quality seeds, pesticides and farming equipment.
Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Project and Portfolio Development, Devakumar Edwin, who confirmed the development in a text to Vanguard, yesterday, stated: "It is true that the fertiliser plant has been completed and it would make much positive impact on farming and the economy of the nation. Foreign exchange, amounting to almost $1.0 billion yearly, through import substitution and export revenues, would be attracted to the country."
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, yesterday, Chairman, Bama Farms, formerly chairman, Agricultural sector, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mr. Wale Oyekoya, said: "Fertiliser is still a major issue in the country. Farmers still need adequate and quality fertilisers for use to boost farming. The plant would likely make impact, if the right government policy is in place to enhance its operations.
"The government should provide adequate incentives, including favorable tax package to enable the company produce the product at lower cost required to make fertilizer affordable to Nigerians."
Meanwhile, investigation showed that the construction of other components of the refinery was also progressing, according to plan.
Recently, Dangote Refinery took delivery of the world's largest crude distillation equipment designed for crude oil processing, thus raising hope for the completion of the project.
The Crude Distillation Column remains the largest in terms of distilling capacity which is 650 thousand barrels per stream day.
According to the company, "the significant equipment weighs 2250MT; Length, 112.5m; Width, 14.036m; and Height, 13.752m. The above mentioned weight does not include the weight of the internal trays which is approx. 536 MT."
Capt Rajen Sachar, Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure of Dangote said that the equipment is the biggest single-train facility used for refining crude.
However, the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, had noted that the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery under construction would assist in the implementation of local content policy in Nigeria.