Perhaps you have no idea what the new refinery Dangote is building in Lagos means to him and his business.

Well, the oil refinery will account for half of Dangote Group’s assets when it is finished next year.

This gives you an idea what is at stake for Dangote and his business; a lot depends on that refinery.

“As of today, cement is the biggest (part of the group). By 2020, the refinery will be the biggest (by assets),” Dangote’s senior executive, Devakumar Edwin told Reuters in an interview at the site in the Lekki district of southwestern Lagos state.

“Our primary focus is Nigeria, to meet the entire local demand, but we have the capacity to export more than 50% of what we produce, so the secondary focus will be on western Africa and central Africa,” he said.

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Edwin said the company had held talks with firms including Vitol and Shell over the supply of crude and lifting of petroleum products for sale abroad.

The Dangote refinery is expected to be ready by December 2019 and will be able to process different grades of crude including shale oil.

The company is borrowing $3.3 billion for the project, arranged by Standard Chartered Bank. The remainder will be funded by equity and through export agencies, Edwin said.

Dangote has also acquired two oil fields in Nigeria from Shell to help supply the refinery.

Edwin said the first phase of the 1.5 million tonne capacity fertiliser plant, on the same Lagos state site, would be completed in September and start operating in December. The second line, also 1.5 million tonnes, will start four months later, he added.

Dangote will consider listing the oil refinery once it comes onstream, Edwin added.

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