Africa’s richest man Alhaji Aliko Dangote has explained why the Dangote refinery situated in the Lekki area of Lagos state is yet to commence production.

Dangote said this in an interview on the sidelines of the Saudi Arabia and Nigeria business roundtable. The billionaire said he wanted to commence production with Nigeria crude; “We don’t want to start our refinery with foreign goods, we want to start with the Nigerian crude,” “We’re more than ready and you will see our gasoline products soon.”

The new Dangote refinery is expected to remove up to 300,000 barrels per day (BBL/d) of crude oil starting this month, an amount that could increase as the refinery, currently in test mode, ramps up to full production. Its capacity is listed at 650,000 BBL/d. If all that oil comes from NNPC, it will make a noticeable dent in the amount of crude available for export to customers, including the U.S.

The country’s three existing refineries have been largely shut in since 2020 (totaling 445,000 BBL/d of nameplate refining capacity), Nigeria has had to rely on imports for 90% to 95% of its refined products. And all that oil–mostly categorized as light, sweet crude–needs to be exported, instead of being refined at home.