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A $15 Billion Oil Bet Is Tough Challenge for Richest African

  • Nigerian Aliko Dangote’s building crude refinery near Lagos
  • Billionaire also investing in fertilizers, gas distribution
The Dangote oil refinery and fertilizer plant construction site outside of Lagos, Nigeria, on July 5.

The Dangote oil refinery and fertilizer plant construction site outside of Lagos, Nigeria, on July 5.

Photographer: Tom Saater/Bloomberg
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Aliko Dangote has made a fortune out of cement and food processing. Now, Africa’s richest person is embarking on a bigger challenge: a $15 billion investment in oil, gas and petrochemicals that could, if he pulls it off, transform Nigeria’s economy.

The 61-year-old is building one of the world’s biggest oil refineries near Lagos, the commercial capital. He’s also constructing a fertilizer factory on the same site and plans to boost gas supplies to the city, Africa’s largest. Once that’s done, he wants to buy enough oil fields to pump one-quarter of a million barrels of crude a day.