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Dangote refinery overcomes ‘Oil Mafia’ sabotage attempts

In a revealing account at the recent Afreximbank Annual Meetings, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual and founder of Dangote Group, shared a harrowing tale of resilience against sabotage attempts by local and international criminal entities on his ambitious $19 billion refinery project.

Dangote described these entities as an “oil mafia,” which he suggests have vested interests in hindering the progress of Africa’s largest oil refinery. Despite these challenges, Dangote remained steadfast, navigating through the murky waters of corporate sabotage to ensure the continuation of a project that promises to reshape Nigeria’s energy sector.

The refinery, located in Lagos, is not just an example of Dangote’s business acumen but also a precursor to Nigeria’s infrastructure development and economic independence. Once operational, it is expected to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on imported petroleum products and catalyse growth across multiple sectors.

The term “oil mafia” as mentioned by Aliko Dangote refers to a combination of local and international criminal organisations that he accused of trying to sabotage the establishment of the Dangote Refinery in Lagos. These groups are suggested to have vested interests in maintaining the status quo of oil imports and distribution, which the refinery could disrupt by producing oil locally. Dangote described these entities as being powerful and persistent in their attempts to prevent the refinery from becoming operational.


Aliko Dangote has spoken about facing significant challenges from what he describes as the “oil mafia,” which he claims is stronger than the drug mafia. He mentioned that these groups tried several times to sabotage his $19 billion refinery project, but he did not provide specific details on the exact actions they took to impede progress.

The Dangote Refinery has a production capacity of 650,000 barrels per day. The first crude delivery took place on December 12, 2023, and it has been reported that the refinery started with a daily output of 350,000 barrels, with plans to eventually ramp up to full capacity. The refinery was inaugurated on May 22, 2023.

As for other reasons given for the delay in takeoff, specific details were not provided in the search results. However, it’s common for large-scale projects like this to face various logistical, technical, and regulatory challenges that can contribute to delays.

The refinery’s operation is expected to transform Nigeria into a net exporter of fuels, which is a significant development for Africa’s largest oil producer.


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