The culmination of the world’s most expansive granulated urea fertiliser project is days ahead.
Dangote Fertiliser Limited Tuesday declared that practically all the segments of the three million tonnes output per annum plant had been completed.
Units like the cooling tower, granulation plant, ammonia and urea bulk storage, central control room and power generator are undergoing the scrutiny of test run.
The epoch-making venture, said to be worth $2 billion, is midwifed by a consortium comprising Saipem, a subsidiary of Eni, itself a global oil and gas powerhouse, and Mumbai-based Tata Consulting Engineers.
Situated on a 500-hectare site in Lagos’s Lekki Free Trade Zone, there is no end yet to its potential considering that the new plant occupies just a parcel out of the sprawling expanse belonging to the company.
The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) have commenced supplying gas to the plant following a Gas Sale and Purchase deal of 70 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day, an affirmation of the scale of ambition of Africa’s richest man’s foray into the petrochemical business.
When fully completed, the plant will add thousands of jobs to national labour force and buoy agricultural production considerably while obviating Nigeria’s massive fertiliser spending via import, a statement from the firm reads.
Devakumar Edwin, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, said the enterprise would aid Nigeria’s passage from fertiliser importation to exportation by not only saving the nation $500 million but also guarantee self-sufficiency and generate $400 million from export.
“The supply of fertiliser from the plant will be enough for the Nigerian market and neighbouring countries.
“I am happy that by the time our plant is fully commissioned, the country will become self-sufficient in fertilizer production and even have the capacity to export the products to other African countries. Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertilizer that is available as they have no choice; but we need to know that the fertilizer that will work in one state may not be suitable in another state, as they may not have the same soil type and composition. The same fertilizer you use for sorghum may not be the fertilizer you will use for sugar cane,” he said.
“The management of the complex is confident that the fertilizer business will deliver reasonable profit to the company and its shareholders as it is projected that population growth and the need for food production will jack up the consumption of urea fertilizer beginning from 2020 when production of the production would have commenced in earnest.
“The current consumption of urea estimated at a dismal 700,000 tonnes per annum by Nigerian farmers is said to be due to very poor usage and is believed to be the cause of poor product yield, which threatens food security in the country.
“By 2020, Nigerian population is projected to increase to about 207 million, which would lead to increased food production. Estimates points out that around five million tonnes of fertilizers are required per year in Nigeria in the next five to seven years bifurcated into 3.5 million tonnes of urea and 1.5 million tonnes of NPK while current production levels in Nigeria are at 1.6 million tonnes by 2019,” Edwin affirmed.
Nigeria’s fertilising import bill for 2018 was N63.930 billion (US$175.15 million) according to United Nations COMTRADE.
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