in ,

Refinery: Mafia in oil stronger than those in drug, Saudi minister told me to stop project- Dangote

The President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has disclosed that his entry into the oil industry revealed the formidable power of the oil mafia, a force he found to be even more dangerous than illegal drug cartels.

He said the local oil mafia colluded with their international counterparts to sabotage the Dangote Refinery. Still, he is happy to have navigated the challenge of setting up the $19b project, the biggest oil refining facility in Africa.

“Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact,” he said.

Dangote, who described himself as a fighter, said they tried all sorts to stop him.

“As a matter of fact during the COVID period, some of the international banks were looking forward to making sure that they push us into default of our loans so that the project will just be dead. And that didn’t happen with the help of banks like Afreximbank,” it was stated.

He explained that he had paid off $2.4bn of the $5.5bn loan for his $19bn Lagos-based refinery.

“We borrowed the money based on our balance sheet. I think we borrowed just over $5.5bn. But we paid also a lot of interest as we went along, because the project was delayed because of a lack of land, also the sand-filling took a long time. Almost five years or so we didn’t do anything.

“We started in 2018. We borrowed that much. We have, of course, paid interest and some principal, about $2.4bn. We’ve done very well. We now have only about $2.7bn left to be paid. So we’ve done very well for a project of that magnitude,” he said.

Dangote mentioned that a former Minister of Energy in Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, had once advised him to abandon the idea of constructing a refinery. However, Dangote stated that he informed the former minister that he did not require his advice.

“Four years ago, I was in Saudi Arabia during the fasting period and I was invited for the breaking of the fast, Dr Falih, who used to be the Minister of Energy invited me to come and break the fast with him and I went there. He just said, ‘Aliko, I heard that you’re planning on building a refinery, what capacity?’ I said 650,000. He kept quiet for a while and said, ‘You know just about 120km from Mecca, we are building one and I think I would like you to go and have a look. We as Saudi Aramco, are facing a lot of challenges and, we are proceeding with it, but my advice to you is not to do it because normally, refineries are built by major oil corporations or sovereign countries.’

“I said, ‘But Your Excellency, unfortunately, we have already started, so I’m not looking for am advice.’ That was really how we continued,” he recounted.

Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What do you think?

927 Points
Upvote Downvote
Enthusiast

Written by Olusesan Oba

Years Of MembershipStory MakerContent Author

We remain transparent, compassionate in our housing scheme – Ogun Commissioner

Dirty fuel imported in Nigeria causing cancer, Dangote raises alarm