In three months' time, the $2 billion granulated urea fertiliser plant of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) will be inaugurated and the product will be available in the market. According to the Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, DIL, Devakumar Edwin, the plant will be commissioned once the turbines start.
The plant - which had started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited - was initially scheduled to take place in May, but COVID-19 pandemic and some technical challenges delayed the inauguration of the plant, now it will be ready in September 2020.
“I don’t expect the impact to be very significant,” Edwin said. The plant will record $1 billion annually according to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. It will generate a minimum of $750 million per annum from 75 per cent of the fertiliser exported, while 25 per cent of the production would be used for domestic consumption.
“The mechanical completion of the fertiliser plant is over; test phase is over, and now we are in the commissioning phase,” He added that, “Steam blowing is going on. Once the steam blowing is over, we will start the turbines, hopefully in the next 10 days. And once the turbines start, it means we have power; so we can start commissioning the plant.
“We are quite confident that we will be able to move forward without much impact. Once the power comes in, within 90 days, we can have urea in the market. It is a tight schedule but I think we can achieve that.” Edwin said. The plant has a capacity of three million tonnes per annum and expected to create jobs and make Nigeria independent on homegrown fertiliser.
Refinery Set To Go In January 2021
According to Edwin, the refinery which has a capacity to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily, will be commissioned in January 2021 after the completion of the mechanicals of the petroleum refinery project at the end of this year, “We have been working with the focus to do the mechanical completion of the petroleum refinery project by the end of this year, and start the commissioning from January next year.
“So, we are still going full speed with that focus and yes, there has been a little bit of impact because of this COVID-19 issue but we are quite confident that we can manage the situation.” Edwin said, adding that, “If anybody says there will be zero impact from COVID-19, we will just be fooling ourselves. For example, we would have liked to ramp up the manpower, but it has been affected to some extent.
“We have maintained social distancing on the site, so we have to obviously reduce the manpower to some extent. So it has had some impact. The maximum we can be delayed is two to three months.” Edwin said.