Despite having three refineries, Nigeria still finds it difficult to meet the domestic needs for petrol and other products. The refineries with an installed capacity to process 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) are not working at optimum capacity.
Against this background, the proposed $9 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Company in Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Lagos, is expected to help refine products to bridge the gap in local needs, conserve foreign exchange and create jobs.
The Dangote Group of Companies is promising to train over 8,000 engineers to run the refinery. It says on completion, the project will create no fewer than 85,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Since it is a complex business, it is expected to open up other jobs in construction, management, engineering, and administrative duties.
These jobs can be broken into pure engineering and journeyman.
Engineering refers to disciplines requiring formal education. In the journeyman category, workers do not usually need a degree. They begin as a trainee and work their way up to a site supervisor that oversees a project.
Journeymen are contractors hired by construction companies which are for contracted by refineries construction-related projects, such as repairs and major turnarounds.
Other available job openings are oil refinery foreman, refinery general foreman, and oil refinery site supervisor.
Welders, electricians, tilers, aluminium doors/windows fitters, building and construction workers will also not be left out. There are other workers who maintain the refinery and do the work that is required to keep the refinery running.
These positions can include maintenance personnel, cooks and catering staff, truck and heavy equipment drivers, mechanics and other. Gardeners and sweepers will also be needed to keep the refinery surroundings as clean as possible.
A top official of LFTZ who will not want his name in print, said the zone has been split into an oil and gas logistic park, light and heavy industrial and manufacturing section, media centre and urban residential section.
The official added that for the zone to be developed quickly, as expected by the initiator, calls are being made for the development of a meaningful partnership, to build a modern international airport and sea –port, that will serve the zone, and become the aviation and maritime hub of the sub-region.
It was also gathered that real estate companies would be given a role to play in the development of the zone. The LFTZ will showcase opportunities for private companies in the oil and gas manufacturing, food processing, hospitality and leisure sectors, banking and financial service sector would be expected to develop a 21st century financial centre at the zone.
According to President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Nigeria spends about $30 billion yearly on importation of petroleum products, promising that when the project is finally completed, it will transform the country from being a net importer of petroleum products to a net exporter of the products. Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel, Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) and other by-products of petroelum refining such as poly-propylene and fertiliser will be in adequate supply.
Speaking on the Project, the General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Issa Aremu, said with a projected daily production output of 400,000 barrels, the same capacity of the four government-owned refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, operating at less than 30 per cent of installed capacities, the bold initiative by the Dangote Group is a giant stride in re-industrialising Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
He said the project will create employment opportunities for many Nigerians and set the country on the pedestal of industrialisation.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) agrees that the proposed refinery/petro-chemical and fertiliser complex is a huge job generating venture. The workers have called on other private investors, including the multinational oil companies to borrow a leaf from Dangote Group by establishing refineries in the country to create jobs and save the huge foreign exchange dissipated yearly on fuel importation.
The oil workers recalled that years back, the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave licences to about 18 indigenous firms to refine crude oil, lamenting that about a decade after, none of them has being able build the a refinery plant.
– Toba Agboola, The Nation