There was excitement yesterday as Dangote refinery received the first shipment of crude oil ahead of commencement of operation.
The arrival signals a significant achievement for the country’s oil industry as the long awaited $20bn plant comes on stream.
It was learnt that OTIS (crude oil) tanker carrying a 950,000-barrel cargo of Nigeria’s Agbami crude set sail on December 6 and is en route to Lekki, the nearest land port to Dangote’s offshore crude receiving terminal.
The tanker, chartered by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), is the first of Dangote’s initial crude supplies as the giant new plant starts to ramp up operations, a West African oil trader said.
The tanker’s estimated arrival time was on Thursday, December 7 by 8 pm, signaling the commencement of crude supplies for the refinery operations.
Daily Trust reports that the refinery was officially commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May amidst expectations.
Following the commissioning, expectations had been high about the commencement of operation.
But the arrival of the first ship yesterday was greeted with excitement.
The Suezmax tanker, chartered by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), symbolises the initial crude supply to Dangote’s state-of-the-art refinery as it gears up to initiate production.
The NNPC owns a 20% stake in the refinery as it recently entered into an agreement to supply 6 million barrels of crude oil as feedstock to the Dangote refinery in December, aiming to jumpstart operations.
Agbami, operated by Chevron, stands as one of Nigeria’s major deepwater developments, boasting a daily output of approximately 100,000 b/d in the central Niger Delta. Renowned for its light sweet crude qualities with specific gravity measuring 47.9 API and sulphur content of 0.04%, Agbami yields significant proportions of naphtha and kerosene.
Further shipments from various Nigerian offshore fields to the refinery have been chartered by NNPC, signifying the beginning of a series of scheduled crude supplies throughout this month, according to the oil trader.
Designed to process multiple crudes concurrently, the refinery aims to process three Nigerian crude grades — Escravos, Bonny Light, and Forcados.
An inside source in Dangote who spoke with our correspondent yesterday as the ship was about to arrive in the Lekki Anchorage area in Lagos said the management of the refinery has set machinery in place to receive the shipment.
It was learnt that after arriving on Lekki anchorage, the management is expected to commence barging the crude.
“Hopefully, we will barge it tomorrow (today) after going through the necessary regulatory clearance. I am sure we will finalise all the clearance today. Also, there is going to be a ceremony to receive the shipment. This is a great and exciting event and an historic moment for our country,” he said.
An oil and gas expert, Jasper Nwachukwu told our correspondent that while it is exciting that the refinery is about commencing operation, there was the need to ensure domestic supply to the refinery to make the operation sustainable and much more beneficial to Nigeria.
He said as an oil producing nation, Nigeria should be the one supplying Dangote directly.