Analytical Instrumentation

  • World's Biggest Oil Tower Reaches Nigeria

World's Biggest Oil Tower Reaches Nigeria

Dec 22 2019 Read 338 Times

Following an 11,000-mile voyage, the world's biggest oil refining tower has arrived in Nigeria and is ready for deployment. The tower, which will claim status as the biggest oil-processing facility in Africa, is more than 110 metres long and weighs 2,250 metric tons, or the equivalent of 320 fully grown elephants.

Chinese tower brings large-scale fractional distillation to Africa

The tower is anchored by an enormous distillation column, which will be used to heat crude oil to different temperatures. It uses the principle of fractional distillation, which sees various crude oil components separated according to boiling points. The top of the column is kept at 165 degrees Celsius, with the temperature gradually increasing to a maximum of 357 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the column. As crude and vapours travel down the column, they pass through an internal web of trays that capture liquids condensed at different boiling points. This process allows the producer to extract separated fractions, including middle distillates such as jet fuel, kerosene, naphtha and gasoline.

In a statement released by Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate Dangote Industries Ltd, sources revealed the tower had arrived at a port in Lagos. In September the platform departed China onboard heavy load carrier Fan Zhou 9. The voyage took around 12 weeks and followed the Maritime Silk Road, a shipping route that connects China with Africa and other countries around the world.

Dangote Refinery aims for 650,000 bpd

The tower is bound for Nigeria's Dangote Refinery, which is set to emerge as one of the biggest single-train facilities in the world. Once completed, it will have the capacity to churn out around 650,000 barrels of oil per day. The refinery is owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, one of the wealthiest men in African. Dangote Industries boasts an annual group turnover of more than US$4 billion a year, with projects in oil and gas, petrochemicals, agriculture, fertiliser and other industries.

While the arrival of the column in Lagos is a milestone for Dangote Industries, there's still plenty of groundwork to be done before the refinery is ready for action. Completing the foundations needed to install the tower will pose a major construction challenge, from both a financial and engineering perspective. Ideally, operations will commence at the beginning of 2021, with Dangote hoping to hit maximum capacity by the end of the second quarter.

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