Dangote Oil Refinery to Test Run This Week, a Historic Shift in Nigeria’s Energy Sector

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Nigeria’s Dangote oil refinery, spearheaded by Africa’s wealthiest individual, Aliko Dangote, is poised to commence test runs this week following the arrival of its sixth crude cargo on Monday.

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After encountering years of construction delays, the $20 billion, 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) facility located in Lekki, on the outskirts of Lagos, is on the verge of operationalization.

Previously reliant on fuel imports, Nigeria is set to achieve self-sufficiency with the Dangote refinery and aims to become a fuel exporter to neighboring West African countries.

This development has the potential to reshape oil trading dynamics in the Atlantic Basin, posing a challenge to U.S. and European energy companies that have historically dominated Africa’s fuel market.

The latest delivery, consisting of 1 million barrels from the Niger Delta’s Agbami field, brings the total crude received to 6 million barrels since the inaugural cargo in December, according to a statement from Dangote’s spokesperson.

The imminent next step involves initiating the crude distillation unit, a pivotal component of the refinery, with the process likely commencing this week, as revealed by a senior company executive who spoke anonymously.

While saleable products are expected to emerge in the initial week, the volume and variety will be constrained initially, gradually expanding as each major department undergoes commissioning. Industry experts note that test runs encompass verifying units producing gasoline to diesel and ensuring their responsiveness to control panels.

The transition from test runs to full-capacity production of high-quality fuels can take months, with Dangote expressing plans to commence refining at 350,000 bpd initially and progressing to full production later this year.

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