The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) on Thursday in Lagos announced a grant of 997.4 million dollars (about N251.3 billion) as training support for the proposed refinery by the Dangote Group.
The grant was announced at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dangote Group and the USTDA.
Dangote Group had in May declared that the proposed refinery would begin operation in the first quarter of 2018 with an investment of about 9 billion dollars.
USTDA’s Deputy Director, Enoh Ebong said the agency was pleased to support the Dangote Oil Refining Company’s efforts to increase Nigeria’s oil refining capacity.
She said it was a “sign of deepening the United States’ long history of support for vital infrastructure in Nigeria.”
“Since 1981, the USTDA has been operating in Nigeria with primary concerns in the area of oil and energy, and we are glad to continue in that line with what we are doing today,” she said.
The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote lauded USTDA for its assistance toward the takeoff of the refinery.
He said the aspect of training and capacity development was vital to the success of the project.
“For such a high-tech project investment, getting the right quality of human capital to run the plant is considered to be possibly the most critical success factor. We are, therefore, most grateful for the generous grant from the USTDA to support the training of some of the operators needed to successfully operate the Greenfield 650,000 bpd capacity refinery,” Dangote said.
The Acting Consul General, US Consulate, Dehab Ghebreab in her remarks said the success of the refinery could make Nigeria a haven of ‘miraculous’ economic growth within the next five years.
She urged the Nigerian Government to keep partnering with the private sector for better economic growth.
The grant is expected to fund the training of more than 100 staff on the use of UOP technology licensing and engineering services.
By Pita Ochai