Mohammed Barkindo, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said NNPC will partner investors to develop the Lekki Greenfield Refinery near the commercial capital Lagos with the aim of starting production in 2017.
Nigeria’s four state-owned refineries have failed to keep pace with surging domestic demand for electricity and gasoline, forcing Africa’s biggest energy producer to import 85 percent of its fuel needs.
“OMEL … and some of the other investors needed some commitment from the state to be able to continue with the investment,” NNPC spokesman Levi Ajuonuma said in a statement.
OMEL, a joint venture between India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and Mittal Group, has already completed feasibility studies and formed a steering committee for the new refinery.
Nigeria’s fuel retailer African Petroleum and Oando were also investors in the project. Other possible partners included French oil major Total, Italy’s Eni and China’s Tianjin Energy Resources, NNPC said.
Nigeria’s refineries have a nameplate capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have never operated at that level. Even if they were able to operate at full capacity, they would produce only a fraction of the needs of Africa’s most populous country of 140 million people.