Dangote Group’s $2 billion fertilizer plant project, which is in the final stage of construction in the commercial city of Lagos, is expected to be ready to start production by February 2021. This information was given by Saipem SpA, the main contractor to the project.
The fertilizer plant, owned by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is located in the Lekki district of Lagos with a name-plate capacity of 3 million tons of urea and ammonia, making it the world’s biggest. This facility is also within the vicinity of the 650,000 barrels a day Dangote oil refinery, which is also still under construction.
The Chief Operating Officer for Saipem SpA, Maurizio Coratella, said that test run of the facility, which started in March, was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic that led to economic lockdown and restrictions. He however pointed out that with a more stable outlook, things were picking up at the moment.
Corotella, in an interview, said, “We are picking up now that things are looking more stable and are currently very well advanced. We are in the commissioning stage of the first train, for the second, we will have that commissioning in six to seven months time.”
He also said that Dangote was making special arrangements, such as setting up dedicated flights for vendors and suppliers to enable it meet the completion deadline.
There have been some setbacks with the opening date of the fertilizer project leading to its postponement a few times. Earlier this year, the President of the Group, Aliko Dangote, had announced that the fertilizer plant would be opened for production in May, 2020.
While disclosing that during the visit of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to the facility, he said that the pre-testing of the plant had already begun. He also said that the plant would make Nigeria the only Urea exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa, stressing that the fertilizer and the petrochemical plants, which are in the same vicinity could generate $2.5 billion annually.
The main contractor Saipem has been involved in business operations in Nigeria for over 50 years, with interests in some sectors such as oil & gas and power. Its current project in the southern part of Nigeria, the 430 megawatt power plant, is expected to start operations in the next couple of weeks.
It is also involved in the rehabilitation of the 4 refineries in the country.