Dangote starts pre-testing its granular urea fertiliser plant
PRETORIA – Dangote Fertiliser has started pre-testing its $2bn granulated urea fertiliser plant ahead of inauguration.
The plant is located in the Dangote Free Zone of Lagos, Nigeria.
It has a capacity of three million tonnes per annum, which has led to it being classified as the biggest fertiliser project in world history.
The plant aims to at first reduce and then remove the need for fertiliser imports to Nigeria, and to allow for the selling of its products to neighbouring countries.
According to the company, Italian firm Siapem is the engineering, procurement and supervision contractor for the project. India's Tata Consulting Engineers are the project management consultants.
"At this time, several critical sections of the plant are 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 and granulation plant have all been completed and are going through pre-testing," said the company.
Dangote said it had started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited, which would see the supply of 70 million standard cubic feet per day (Scf/d) of natural gas to the plant.
The project is anticipated to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in construction and related fields.
The company's group executive for strategy, portfolio development and capital projects, Devakumar Edwin, said Nigeria would be able to save $0.5 billion from import substitution and provide $0.4 billion from products exported from the plant.
“Thus, the supply of fertiliser from the plant will be enough for the Nigerian market and neighbouring countries,” he said.
Edwin said he was "happy" that by the time the plant was fully commissioned, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in fertiliser production and have the capacity to export to other African countries.
"Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertiliser 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 fertiliser you use for sorghum may not be the fertiliser you will use for sugar cane.”
The plant is situated on 500 hectares of land and has the capacity to expand as it is only occupying a fraction of the allotted portion.
Plant management was confident that it could deliver "reasonable profit" to the company and shareholders, said Edwin.
"[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 would have commenced in earnest.
“The current consumption of urea by Nigerian farmers is estimated at a dismal 700,000 tonnes per annum, which 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, the Nigerian population is projected to increase to about 207 million, which would lead to increased food production. Estimates indicate that around five million tonnes of fertilisers 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."
The country's production levels were at 1.6 million tonnes in 2019, he said.
African News Agency (ANA)