Local engineers to manage refinery, says Dangote
• Export of refined products will boost naira acceptance by ECOWAS countries
The Management of Dangote Oil Refinery has said that it is preparing young Nigerian graduates to take over the management of its 650,000 barrels per day (b/d) single train refinery when it becomes operational in 2022.
Already, the company has trained several Nigerian engineers in some of the world’s biggest refineries in India and other parts of the world to gain hands-on experience on how to manage a refinery of this magnitude.
The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, who made this disclosure at the weekend during the tour of the Dangote Refinery by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, affirmed that the country is blessed with great talents that are capable of running a refinery of its size.
According to him, the outbreak of Coronavirus in 2020, which forced many expatriates out of the construction site, gave the company an opportunity to identify great talents that exist within Nigeria.
Dangote stated: “One thing that gladdens my heart is the young Nigerians we have trained to take over the operation of the refinery. These young Nigerians are the ones that are going to run the refinery when it becomes operational. We want a situation whereby the operation of the refinery will be the sole responsibility of Nigerian graduates.
“We can start the process by bringing in team leaders to keep giving them that training they require to run a world-class refinery.
However, we will ensure that Nigerian engineers, welders and others are the ones running the refinery. We have created that capacity, human capacity, equipment capacity and every other thing to ensure the successful operation of the refinery by Nigerian engineers.”
Speaking also after the tour of the refinery, Emefiele said an arrangement is being made to enable the Dangote Refinery to sell refined crude to Nigeria in naira when it commences production.
The CBN governor noted that the $15-billion project being constructed by the Dangote Group would save Nigeria from expending about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange on the importation of petroleum products.
Emefiele said: “Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use.
“That is the element where foreign exchange saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all the costs associated with either demurrage from import and freight will be eliminated.
“This will make the price of our petroleum products cheaper in naira. We are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than what we need locally. You will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take the products to West African neighbours to sell in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States,” Emefiele said.