Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has abundant natural resources, especially in oil and gas. These resources, when processed, form petrochemicals that are the building blocks of many consumer and industrial products, such as fertilizers, plastics, rubber, and textiles, among others. But the country’s domestic petrochemicals industry is small, making it hard for Nigeria to take advantage of its oil and gas resources to support economic diversification and job creation. Nigeria’s few refineries operate below capacity and gas flaring from upstream oil and gas extraction and processing generates significant carbon emissions.
Indorama Corporation is a multinational based in Singapore with diversified interests in petrochemicals and textiles in some 35 countries. In 2006, Indorama tapped IFC financing for the company’s first investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, the acquisition of an underperforming petrochemical company in Nigeria under a government privatization program. Today, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Ltd. ranks as Africa’s second-largest producer of polyolefins, a category of polymer resins used to make durable consumer and industrial plastic goods. Indorama expanded into fertilizers in 2016, with a urea fertilizer plant along with dedicated port terminal for surplus urea exports. Additional investment has been made for a second fertilizer plant that is under construction.
These projects are part of Eleme’s vision to build Africa’s largest petrochemicals hub in Nigeria–which if achieved would give a major boost to Nigeria’s economy.