The Executive Director, Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin has confirmed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) quest for 20 per cent stake in its refinery located in Lagos.

Edwin said the firms from Western and Middle East countries involved in trading and crude production were looking to secure crude supply agreements, a similar objective to that pursued by the NNPC.

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Edwin was quoted as say: “They are seeking to have 20 per cent minority stake in Dangote refinery as part of collaboration … so that they can sell their crude.”

He said Dangote refinery was not looking for equity, adding that the company wants to be able to secure crude from the market.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude oil exporter, imports virtually all of its fuel due to moribund state refineries, which has prompted the state oil company’s interest in the 650,000 barrel per day (bpd) Dangote refinery.

According to NNPC’s spokesman, the corporation had considered the idea of acquiring a stake in the multi-billion-dollar oil refinery project owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Nigerian billionaire Dangote, who built his fortune in cement, first announced a smaller refinery in 2013, to be finished in 2016. He then moved the site to Lekki, in Lagos, upgraded the size and said production would start in early 2020.

Edwin said the refinery was scheduled for mechanical completion this year with commissioning by January 2022.

It was reliably gathered that Dangote Group has held talks with firms including Vitol and Trafigura over the supply of crude and lifting of petroleum products for sale abroad.

Edwin revealed that Nigeria lost its biggest customer, the United States, after it started producing shale oil. The US is now pushing into some of Nigeria’s most valued markets.

The 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) integrated refinery is expected to process a variety of light and medium grades of crude, including petrol and diesel as well as jet fuel and polypropylene.

The refinery which is estimated to worth $15 billion was designed to produce up to 50 million litres of petrol and 15 million litres of diesel a day and 4 million tonnes of jet fuel per year in addition to having a fertilizer plant, which will utilize by-products of the refinery as raw materials.