Dangote Fertilizer Limited has begun the countdown to the inauguration of its $2 billion Granulated Urea Fertilizer complex located in the Dangote Free Zone.
With a capacity of three million tonnes per annum, the plant has been classified as the biggest project in the history of the fertilizer industry.
Siapem of Italy is the Engineering, Procurement and Supervision (EP) Contractor for the project, while Tata Consulting Engineers, India, is the Project Management Consultants (PMC) for the project.
Several critical sections of the plant are currently going through various stages of pre-commissioning and test-run, the company said in a statement.
Virtually all the section of the plant such as Central Control Room, Ammonia and Urea Bulk Storage, Cooling Tower, Power Generator Plant, Granulation Plant, have all been completed and are going through pre-testing, the statement added.
The Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, said Nigeria would save $500 million from import substitution and provide $400 million from exports of products from the fertilizer plant.
Already, Dangote Fertilizer has started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited under the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement to supply 70 million standard cubic feet per day (Scf/d) of natural gas, the company said.
The project is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in construction and related fields as well as provide a major boost to the agricultural sector by significantly reducing the importation of fertilizer in Nigeria.
Mr Edwin said when the plant is fully commissioned, Nigeria would become self-sufficient in fertilizer production and have the capacity to export the products to other African countries.
“Right now, farmers are forced to utilize 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,” he said.
“The same fertilizer you use for sorghum may not be the fertilizer you will use for sugar cane.”
He stated 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.
“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 fertilizer beginning from 2020 when production of the production would have commenced in earnest,” Mr Edwin continued.
“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 point 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.”