Photo caption: Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin (second left), making a point when CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele (second right) visited the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Petrochemical Complex, Fertilizer Plant & Subsea Gas Pipeline Projects, Lekki Lagos on Friday, June 4, 2021. With them are Senator Sabo Mohammed (left); President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote (2nd left); and Managing Director of UBA plc, Kennedy Uzoka (right). Source: Dangote Group
Dangote Fertilizer Limited, on Sunday announced the commenced the formal production of Urea in commercial quantity, ready to hit the Nigerian market from its $2.5bn production plant on Monday.
The announcement of the milestone, expected to liberalize of the fertilizer market and enhance agricultural production, was made by President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, during a final inspection tour of the facility in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, by Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday.
Emefiele was accompanied by chief executives of some deposit money banks- First Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank Plc, United Bank of Africa and Zenith Bank.
The fertiliser complex consists of Ammonia and Urea plants with associated facilities and infrastructure, to produce 3 MMTPA Urea. The complex comprises: 2 x 2,200 MTPD Ammonia Plants based on Halder Topsoe technology, 2 x 4,000 MTPD Melt Urea Plants based on Snamprogetti technology, and 2 x 4,000 MTPD Urea Granulation Plants based on Uhde Technology.
This phase, with a capacity to churn out three million metric tonnes per annum of urea, he told the visitors who were on hand to witness the commencement of production, “is to manufacture 3mmtpa of urea per annum.”
Thereafter, he continued, the plant’s capacity will “be expanded to produce multi grades of fertilisers to meet soil, crop and climate specific requirements for the African continent.”
The fertiliser plant would make Nigeria the biggest urea exporting country in sub-Saharan Africa and biggest producer of polypropylene and polyethylene, he stressed.
Dangote assured that “the three million tonnes of Urea is certified, licensed by all regulatory authorities in Nigeria. We have gotten all licenses from the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Agriculture, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), NAFDAC and all other authorities.
“So, our Urea will be in the market from Monday, and by God’s grace before the end of this month, we will start bringing in (earning US$) from the first line that we have commissioned. He added that the urea is a small percentage utilization of gas that the country is actually flaring.”
While appreciating the efforts of the CBN Governor and bank CEOs towards the success of the project, Dangote said the group’s “primary interest is to saturate the local market. Training farmers will help to sustain farming activities, and this will ensure food security.”
The time, he stressed, had come for the country to move away from selling crude oil to value added petroleum products, besides targeting mostly gas-based industries to enhance the economy and its foreign exchange earning capacity.
“We need to look at transforming the industrial capacity of the country earning dollars and at the same time doing what we call import substitution,” Dangote noted.
Also speaking, Emefiele said Nigeria has the potential to export at least 3.5mmt across the globe, much more than between one million metric and 1.5mmt of Urea needed to meet local demand.
This, he noted, means that Nigeria has “potentials to export at least three to four million metrics tonnes of Urea to different parts of the world. With this latest development, Nigeria has become one of the major producers of Urea in the world. This for me, is a story, which no one would have believed would happened in Nigeria.
“Nigeria now ranks amongst the leading countries in the production of Urea in the world. This, for me is a story that no one would have believed will happen in Nigeria,” he said, stressing that the mechanical commissioning of the Petrochemical and Refinery plant would kick off by the end of the first quarter of next year.
“Dangote has committed that mechanical completion will be achieved by the end of this year and we are expecting that the refinery will be completed by the first quarter of next year,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the bankers, Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, expressed happiness at the decision by the banks to support the creation of a world class manufacturing enterprise in Nigeria, despite the “skepticism along the way as we moved on; can this project be completed, are we sure we have the right financing models and all of that.
“Today we saw Urea produced, we saw it bagged and we saw it loaded on trucks, and by Monday it will be in our markets. This for us is a very important milestone for Nigeria and Africa”, Wigwe stressed further.