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Milestone Achieved as Dangote Refinery Welcomes First Crude Oil Shipment

Daud Olatunji

In a momentous development for Nigeria’s oil industry, the eagerly anticipated $20 billion Dangote Refinery marked a significant milestone as it received its inaugural shipment of crude oil. 

The arrival of the crude, transported by the OTIS tanker carrying a substantial 950,000-barrel cargo of Nigeria’s Agbami crude, has ignited excitement within the nation.

The tanker, chartered by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), departed on December 6, en route to Lekki, the closest land port to Dangote’s offshore crude receiving terminal.

 The estimated arrival time on Thursday, December 7, at 8 pm, marked the initiation of crude supplies for the refinery’s operations.

The Dangote Refinery, commissioned in May by former President Muhammadu Buhari, has been eagerly awaited, and expectations soared following the commissioning ceremony.

The arrival of the first shipment, symbolized by the Suezmax tanker chartered by NNPC, represents the commencement of crude supply to Dangote’s state-of-the-art refinery as it gears up for production.

The NNPC holds a 20% stake in the refinery and recently entered into an agreement to supply 6 million barrels of crude oil as feedstock in December, aiming to kickstart operations. 

Agbami, operated by Chevron, stands as one of Nigeria’s major deepwater developments, contributing approximately 100,000 b/d in the central Niger Delta, known for its light sweet crude qualities.

According to sources, additional shipments from various Nigerian offshore fields have been chartered by NNPC, indicating the initiation of a series of scheduled crude supplies throughout the month.

 The refinery, designed to process multiple crudes concurrently, plans to handle three Nigerian crude grades—Escravos, Bonny Light, and Forcados.

An insider from Dangote revealed that the refinery’s management has diligently prepared to receive the shipment.

After arriving at Lekki anchorage in Lagos, the management is expected to commence barging the crude, with regulatory clearance processes underway.

The source expressed optimism about the finalization of all clearances and highlighted an upcoming ceremony to mark this historic event.

Jasper Nwachukwu, an oil and gas expert, emphasized the excitement surrounding the refinery’s impending operations.

However, he stressed the importance of ensuring domestic supply to the refinery to guarantee sustainability and greater benefits for Nigeria.

Nwachukwu urged the nation, as a major oil producer, to directly supply Dangote, reinforcing the significance of this milestone for the country’s economic landscape.

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