Nigeria’s oil refining industry is dead, at least for now. While we have seven oil refineries in Nigeria, one of the most in Africa, the average total output from all the major refineries in Nigeria combined over the past decade is exactly zero barrels.
Of course, the statistic may look strange to someone not familiar with Nigeria’s refining landscape, but not to someone who knows a thing about the oil refineries in Nigeria. So, if you’re studying petrochemical engineering with a dream to work at a refinery, I have some not-too-good news for you.
However, there’s hope for some of the oil refineries in Nigeria, especially with the recent commissioning of Dangote Refinery and the government’s renewed vigor in oil refining. In this article, we’ll analyze all the oil refineries in Nigeria and their potential to give you a realistic outlook on Nigeria’s oil refining future.
Without more delay, let’s jump into this article.
Table of Contents
How Many Oil Refineries Are in Nigeria?
Despite the nearly complete lack of activity among the oil refineries in Nigeria, it may shock you to learn that our nation is among the African countries with the most refineries, only that most of the refineries in Nigeria don’t work.
At the moment, Nigeria has seven oil refineries, with only one of them working partially. Dangote Refinery appears to be very close to functioning, but it has been in this state for the past few years. Until the refinery refines its first barrel of oil, it’s still non-functional, and we’ll treat it as such.
With that question out of the way, it’s time to jump into the crux of the matter by listing all the oil refineries in Nigeria.
List of Oil Refineries in Nigeria
1. Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC)
The Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC) was commissioned in 1980 with the mandate to supply crude oil products to consumers in Northern Nigeria, and 43 years later, the refinery is doing all but that.
The refinery had a capacity of 50,000 bpd (barrels per day) at launch, but the capacity was extended to 100,000 bpd in 1983 and 110,000 in 1986. Unfortunately, the refinery has never achieved its maximum throughput in its 43-year history, accurately depicting the sorry state of all the country’s refineries.
In its ideal working state, KPRC should produce varieties of crude oil products, including LPG, gasoline, jet fuel/kerosene, diesel, fuel oil, asphalt, lubricants, and waxes, among others. The refinery stopped working in 2003, but it managed to put out 136,341 barrels of PMS in its final operational year before the Federal Government decided to shut it down.
While the refinery has been non-functional for almost forever at this point, all hope is not lost for KPRC, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recently awarded a $741 million quick-fix repair contract to Daewoo Engineering and Construction to restore the refinery to an operational state.
Upon repair, however, the refinery is only expected to output 50,000 bpd, as opposed to its 110,000 bpd potential for technical reasons. If the contract goes as expected (which is nearly impossible in Nigeria), Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company should be functional by 2024.
2. Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) is one of the four major oil refineries in Nigeria, and that statement is a bit weird to make considering none of those ‘major’ refineries have produced a single drop of petrol over the past ten years.
Port Harcourt Refining Company, interestingly, is two oil refining companies in one, conveniently named the old and new refineries respectively. The old refinery is interestingly the oldest in Nigeria, established in 1965 as the Alesa-Eleme Refining Company. On the other hand, the new refinery began operations in 1988 with a mandate to produce petroleum products for export.
The old refinery has a capacity of 60,000 bpd, but the new one dwarfs that significantly with a quoted capacity of 150,000 bpd. Unfortunately, neither refinery now produces any petroleum product; both refineries have a combined total output of 0 barrels over the past 10 years.
When functional, the Port Harcourt Refinery can produce gasoline, diesel, LPG, low-pour fuel oil, and high-pour fuel oil, among others. Ever since its establishment, the Port Harcourt refinery has rarely operated over 50% of its capacity, and with a lack of maintenance over the years, the quality of petroleum products from the refinery kept declining rapidly.
The Federal Government announced plans to rehabilitate the refinery and get it working by December, but you can take that promise with a grain of salt. Former Petroleum Minister of State, Timipre Silva quoted the first quarter of 2023 as the date for completion, but see where that got us.
3. Dangote Refinery
The $19 billion Dangote Refinery is Nigeria’s biggest and only hope for the revival of her epileptic oil refining industry, and the gigantic investment has been a long time coming. Dangote revealed plans for an oil refining operation back in 2013, with a proposed timeline that would see it begin operation in 2016.
However, it turned out that Dangote’s projections were a little too optimistic, as one decade after his three-year proposal, the refinery is yet to begin operations at all. To be fair to Dangote, the refinery was inaugurated by then-President Muhammadu Buhari back in May 2023.
When it’s finally complete and ready for production, the Dangote Oil Refinery would be the single biggest oil refinery in Africa with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, and the biggest single-train refinery in the world. It’s expected to output premium motor spirit (PMS), diesel, jet fuel (kerosene), and polypropylene, among others.
Dangote Refinery is a joint project by the Dangote Group and the Nigerian Government via NNPCL to improve Nigeria’s oil-producing capacity and generate foreign exchange through exports. Projections suggest it could produce up to 50 million liters of PMS and 15 million liters of diesel per year, which would dwarf the capacity of all other oil refineries in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, Dangote Refinery has refused to keep to schedule over and over again, casting doubts on its ability to even produce near its quoted capacity. Whether or not we’ll see it work sustainably remains to be seen, but for now, it remains one of the non-functional oil refineries in Nigeria.
4. Warri Refinery
Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited is the fourth of the four big oil refineries in Nigeria, and it’s every bit just as useless as all of its government-owned sisters. Commissioned in 1978, the refinery launched with a capacity of 125,000 bpd, but now outputs exactly 0 barrels per year.
Like all other oil refineries in Nigeria, Warri Refinery has never achieved its maximum potential, operating at slightly over 50 during its best years. Unfortunately, the refinery’s best years are well behind it, and what we have now is a shadow of its former self, reeking of desertion and hopelessness.
During its best years, the refinery consistently produced several crude oil products, including LPG, premium motor spirit (PMS), household kerosene, diesel, and fuel oil. However, none of these products is being produced at the moment, and there’s very little hope for the future as well.
The Warri Refinery is one of the best-planned in the country’s history as it has all the facilities it requires for operation on-site. It has a power plant, a nitrogen plant, a water treatment plant, a crude oil storage facility, truck loading facilities, and a railroad for product evacuation.
The Federal Government of Nigeria unveiled plans to rehabilitate the refinery, as well as the Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries. With a 2022 promise of production by the first quarter of 2023, only God knows what the future holds for this very promising oil refining plant.
5. Azikel Refinery
Azikel Group, through its Azikel Refinery, aims to establish a world-class modular petroleum refining plant in Nigeria to meet the country’s increasing oil demand. Its projected capacity is nowhere near the four big boys in the industry, with Azikel Group quoting 12,000 barrels per day.
The project’s proposed location is Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, one of Nigeria’s major oil-producing states. Azikel Group lists LPG, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and jet fuel as the primary product from Azikel Refinery upon its completion, with fuel oil and gas oil as the main secondary products.
It’s not one of the biggest oil refineries in Nigeria, but it’s not any less useful than the Port Harcourt Refinery or KPRC for example, as both of them produce zero barrels of oil per day anyway.
6. Ogbele Refinery
Ogbele Refinery is a modular refinery in Rivers State, owned and operated by Aradel Holdings with a capacity of 1,000 bpd. It’s the only semi-functional refinery in Nigeria, although oil production happens sparingly at Ogbele Refinery. At the moment, the refinery doesn’t appear to be working, no thanks to an insufficient supply of crude.
According to information on the Aradel Holdings website, the entirety of Ogbele Refinery’s capacity is dedicated to the production of diesel, which is a fraction of Nigeria’s petroleum product demand. While it won’t magically change the state of oil refineries in Nigeria, it’s refreshing to see small players like this modular refinery making a change in a dying industry.
7. Waltersmith Refinery
Waltersmith Refinery is slated to become the biggest modular refinery in Nigeria, with a projected capacity of 50,000 barrels per day, a capacity you only see with regular full-scale refineries. It was conceptualized in 1996, and construction is still incomplete, proving the difficulty of establishing a refinery in Nigeria.
The refinery project is divided into three phases: phase I with a capacity of 5,000 bpd, the phase II with 25,000 bpd, and Phase III with 20,000 bpd. This refinery doesn’t sound too impressive compared to Dangote Refinery’s 650,000 bpd capacity, but when you consider that all the oil refineries in Nigeria are non-functional, the idea of Waltersmith Refinery starts to sound interesting.
There are four major oil refineries in Nigeria, but none of them is functional at the moment. The only partially functional refinery, Ogbele Modular Refinery, has a capacity of 1,000 bpd, which is insignificant compared to Nigeria’s insanely high demand.
This situation should propel the government to declare a state of emergency for our oil refining industry and see to its revival to prevent our extreme dependence on imports.
If you like our content, we know you would love our excellent content on our Youtube channel, Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Please subscribe and follow us for more Premium Know Nigeria content.