The construction of what is said to be Africa’s largest refinery and petrochemical complex, sited in Nigeria, would create training and jobs for at least 8,000 engineers and technicians, according to the main investor.

Dangote Group of Companies, a large Nigeria-based industrial conglomerate, last year announced it will invest $9 billion in a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery and a 600,000-metric-tonne-per-year polypropylene plant in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, which is jointly owned by a Chinese consortium.

Dangote Group President Aliko Dangote said in Lagos in mid-February that his company will raise $3 billion in equity for the refinery and petrochemical plant.

Last September, it signed a $3.6-billion loan, coordinated by Standard Chartered Bank and Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank, for the projects.

Earlier this month, a Nigerian business publication reported the project moved ahead with the award of a $139-million contract to India-based Engineers India Ltd. for project management and EPC-related management services.

Italy's Saipem was awarded a front-end design and engineering contract last year, with support from India's Tata.

Nigeria’s oil-and-gas industry is dominated by foreign firms, and much of the high-skilled labor is imported, despite enactment three years ago of a law that provides guidelines on employment and training of Nigerian and expatriate personnel in the sector.

“Operators must give Nigerians first consideration for employment and training in respect of all executed projects and may be required ... to maintain a reasonable proportion of employees from areas of significant operations,” says the law.

Oil-and-gas companies are allowed to hire expatriates for, at most, 5% of a project's management positions.

Dangote has said the complex is set to be completed in 2016.