Dangote Fertiliser Begins Pre-testing Of US$2bn World’s Biggest Plant Ahead Of Opening

Dangote Fertiliser Ltd. has begun the countdown to the inauguration of its US$2 billion granulated urea fertilizer complex in Nigeria.

With a capacity of 3 million tpy, the plant has been classified as the biggest project in the global fertilizer industry. Siapem of Italy is the engineering, procurement and supervision (EPS) contractor for the project, while Tata Consulting Engineers, India, is the project management consultant (PMC) for the project.

Several critical sections of the plant are currently going through various stages of pre-commissioning and test-run. Virtually all the sections of the plant such as the central control room, ammonia and urea bulk storage, cooling tower, power generator plant, granulation plant have been completed and are going through pre-testing.

Dangote Fertiliser has started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Ltd under the gas sale and purchase agreement through which 70 million ft3/d of natural gas will be supplied to Dangote Fertiliser Limited.

The project aims to significantly reduce the importation of fertilizer in Nigeria and ultimately remove the need for imports when the plant is in full production.

Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Ltd, Devakumar

Edwin, said Nigeria will be able to save US$0.5 billion from import substitution and provide US$0.4 billion from exports of products from the fertiliser plant. “Thus, the supply of fertiliser from the plant, will be enough for the Nigerian market and neighbouring countries,” he said.

Estimates indicate that around 5 million tpy of fertilizers are required in Nigeria in the next five to seven years. Edwin said: “I am happy that by the time our plant is fully commissioned, the country will become self sufficient in fertiliser production and even have the capacity to export the products to other African countries. Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertiliser that is available as they have no choice, but we need to know that the fertiliser 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 fertiliser you will use for sugar cane.”

He pointed out that the fertilizer complex, which is sited on 500 hectares of land, has the capacity to expand as it is only occupying a small fraction of the allotted portion.

Edwin added: “The management of the complex are 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 fertiliser beginning from 2020 when production of the production would have commenced in earnest.

“The current consumption of urea estimated at a dismal 700 000 tpy 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 5 million t of fertilisers are required per year in Nigeria in the next five to seven years bifurcated into 3.5 million t of urea and 1.5 million t of NPK while current production levels in Nigeria are at 1.6 million t by 2019.”

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