By Nkechi Ogbonna and Cecilia MacaulayBBC Information, Lagos and London
Africa’s largest oil refinery has opened in Nigeria, the place it’s hoped it’ll ease persistent gasoline shortages.
Nigeria is a serious oil producer, however most of that oil is exported overseas whereas it should import the refined gasoline utilized in autos and elsewhere.
Because of this, the nation usually faces persistent gasoline shortages.
That is the issue the $19bn (£15.2bn) refinery, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is supposed to unravel.
“It is a recreation changer for the Nigerian folks,” President Muhammadu Buhari stated.
The plant, which isn’t but operational, has the capability to supply roughly 650,000 barrels of petroleum merchandise per day, greater than sufficient to fulfill the nation’s wants. It additionally features a energy station, a deep-water port and a fertilizer manufacturing unit.
Nigeria’s present refineries have been utterly shut down for over three years on account of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and structural neglect.
If it really works as deliberate, the plant may deliver actual change to the lives of Nigerians: “At any time when there’s a scarcity of gasoline, I do not open my store as a result of there isn’t a gentle (electrical energy) to work and I can not purchase gasoline. for my generator,” a younger hairdresser from Lagos advised the BBC.
On the launch on Monday, Mr Dangote outlined his hopes for the refinery: “Our first goal is to speed up the manufacturing of the varied merchandise to make sure that throughout this 12 months, we’re in a position to absolutely meet the nationwide demand for high quality merchandise”.
Nonetheless, it’s unclear what impression the plant could have on gasoline costs in a rustic the place retail costs are backed. The federal government says these subsidies will quickly be phased out: final 12 months they accounted for no less than 1 / 4 of the nationwide finances.
Mr Dangote’s plant in Lagos, which took virtually seven years to construct, is believed to be the world’s largest single-train refinery, that means the plant has an built-in distillery system able to produce quite a lot of merchandise and petrochemicals, as a substitute of getting totally different items for every kind of product.
It is likely one of the final main tasks inaugurated by President Buhari, who resigns subsequent week after serving two phrases.
President Buhari will hand over energy to Bola Tinubu, who gained disputed presidential elections in February.
Oil and fuel professional Henry Adigun advised the BBC that Monday’s launch was “extra political than technical”.