(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s new mega-refinery will begin domestic gasoline deliveries in May, weaning Africa’s most populous country off costly petroleum imports.

The facility built outside Lagos by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, dispatched its first petroleum products — diesel and aviation fuel — on Tuesday, Dangote Industries Ltd. Executive Director Devakumar Edwin said in a text message, without elaborating on volumes.

The start of the two types of delivery marks a turning point for Africa’s largest oil producer, which mostly imports the refined product. The 650,000-barrels per day refinery is expected to ease Nigeria’s foreign-exchange demands for fuel imports and marginally reduce the price of petroleum products.  

At full capacity, the facility will produce 99 million liters (26.2 million gallons) of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and kerosene daily, according to Edwin. Dangote plans to export about 50% of its output. “We estimate that the total consumption of these products within Nigeria is about 53 million liters per day,” he said.

Marketers have started moving diesel from the refinery and will pay in naira, according to Abubakar Maigandi, the head of an industry body.

“We are still finalizing the details of the volumes that we are going to take from Dangote as an association and we also haven’t finalized on the price,” Maigandi said.

The refinery that started operations in January exported its first products — 65,000 metric tons of low-sulfur straight run fuel oil and about 60,000 tons of naphtha — last month. It is running at an initial processing rate of 350,000 barrels a day before ramping up toward its full capacity.

(Updates with refinery chief’s comment in fourth paragraph)

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