Refinery News Roundup: Upgrades and Launches Remain in Focus in Africa
03.09.2020 By Greta Talmaci - NEWS

March 09, 2020 [S&P Global Platts] – Libya’s Zawiya oil refinery has been forced to shut down as domestic oil output has plunged due to a blockade which began on January 18, state-owned National Oil Corporation said. Both CDUs, each with 60,000 b/d capacity, have been affected.

In late December, the refinery was the target of an air strike but the refinery has been operating at around 60,000 b/d over the past six months, only operating one of its crude distillation units.
–South Africa’s Cape Town refinery (Caltex) was due to have maintenance starting in February and lasting until late March or early April, according to market sources. In September 2018, Astron Energy acquired a majority stake in the former Chevron refinery. The company was not available to comment.
–The reconstruction of Cameroon’s Limbe refinery, which suffered from a fire in May 2019, was not expected until 2021. Four out of 13 units were completely destroyed and three partly damaged. Meanwhile, Cameroon officials talked to Russian oil companies during the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi about the potential participation of Russian companies in the rebuilding the refinery, according to reports. Cameroon’s sole refinery is one of the few in the region to have undergone a successful upgrade program over the past two years. The refinery increased its capacity to 72,000 b/d from 45,000 b/d through the upgrade, which involved the construction of a vacuum distillation unit, a catalytic reformer and a power plant.
–Ghana’s sole oil refinery Tema is continuing to operate intermittently after years of stopping and starting due to technical and financial problems. The CDU only has one furnace and is operating at around 25,000-26,000 b/d. Tema has been hit by several issues over the past few years, experiencing intermittent outages at its CDU and FCC units.

–Libya’s Ras Lanuf remains offline without any timeline for its restart. The refinery was shut in 2013.

Upgrades: Exiting Entries

–The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved in November a $50 million loan for an upgrade of Egypt’s Suez refinery aimed at introducing cleaner fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. It was the second loan after a $200 million loan by the EBRD signed in May 2018, which was aimed to “increase the flexibility of the plant’s crude intake and allow for the production of higher quality fuels and lower sulfur fuels.”

–Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. said it planned full rehabilitation of all four of its refineries in January for completion in 2022. Nigeria’s refineries, which include the northern Kaduna refinery, Warri refinery and the two plants located in Port Harcourt, have operated below capacity due to years of neglect. The first phase of the upgrades was announced in March 2019, with Italy’s Maire Tecnimont hired to handle initial scoping of the 210,000 b/d Port Harcourt refinery complex, with oil major Eni appointed as technical adviser. Full repair work on all 4 plants will start in January 2020. Tecnimont will handle the remainder of the repair work needed for Port Harcourt, while Kyari did not name the contractors that will handle the overhaul of Kaduna and Warri refineries.

–Following recent upgrades, run rates at Zambia’s Indeni refinery have risen sharply. Because of these upgrades, the refinery is unlikely to require extensive maintenance until 2022, although minor outages to facilitate routine servicing of equipment may be required. The refinery last underwent maintenance in October 2018. The government began the process of selling the refinery in late 2017. Privately owned Sahara Group said it is hoping to buy a 70% stake in the state-owned refinery.

–Italy’s Kinetics Technology has been awarded a contract to build a fluid catalytic cracker at Angola’s sole oil refinery in Luanda. The unit would take around two and half years to complete. Sonangol is working with Eni for the refurbishment of the Luanda plant. The construction of the fluid catalytic cracker at the Luanda refinery will enable it to produce 1,200 mt/day of gasoline, up from current output of 380 mt/day. The unit is expected to come online mid-2021.

–The expansion program at Egypt’s state-owned Middle East Oil Refinery (Midor) near Alexandria, is on track for 2022, which will push capacity to 160,000 b/d. Once the revamp is complete, the refinery will produce Euro 5 specification refined products. EGPC is in the midst of expanding other refineries, including the upgrade of Assiut by the Nile in Middle Egypt, which was expected to be complete by April 2020. The upgrade at Assiut includes the installation of 880,000 mt/year continuous catalytic reforming and isomerization complex, a 400,000 mt/year vapor recovery unit and 2.3 million mt/year hydrocracker.

–Cote d’Ivoire’s SIR has secured a Eur577 million ($657 million) debt financing deal from Africa Finance Corporation, or AFC, which will help fund the upgrade of the refinery.

–The Republic of Congo’s refinery in Pointe Noire is planning to build a fluid catalytic cracker before 2022.

–Senegal’s Dakar refinery is running at full capacity of 1.2 million mt/year. The refinery planned to increase capacity to 1.5 million mt/year.

Launches: Existing Entries

–Nigeria’s Dangote, set to be Africa’s biggest refinery at 650,000 b/d plant, has completed 75% of its construction and remained on track to start processing crude by early 2021, company officials said. The plant, being built by Nigerian conglomerate Dangote Group, will use Nigerian crude. Officials said that the arrival of key components of the refinery late last year, after initial delays, had bolstered confidence that construction will be complete by end-2020. “Construction work on the refinery has hit 75% completion. The port terminal is ready and we have begun installation of the key fluid catalytic cracking unit,” an official said. The fluid catalytic cracker, built by Sinopec, was delivered to the refinery last December, the official said. Work on the refinery, initially billed to come on stream in 2019, had been delayed first by the scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria, where oil revenues fell between 2015 and 2017 on low oil prices and limited production. Construction of the Dangote refinery began in 2013.

–Angola will select a company to build the new Soyo refinery in March, according to local media reports. Out of 31 interested companies, 15 have submitted bids in a tender for the construction of Soyo, the country’s ANGOP news agency reported. Nine of the bids have been validated and will be evaluated in March when the tender is expected to be awarded. The tender was launched in October. The refinery is expected to be completed in about three to four years, according to the report. The selected company or joint venture will finance the construction of the plant on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The new plant, along with ones under consideration in Lobito in Benguela province and in Cabinda, is part of the government’s plan to transform its downstream sector. This also involves refurbishing the refinery in Luanda.

–Completion of the Albertine Graben refinery in Uganda is on schedule for 2023, Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary at the energy ministry, said. Uganda officials said last year that completion had been pushed back to 2024, following delays in reaching agreement on prerequisites for the project’s final investment decision. However, the timeline has been brought forwards after preliminary front-end engineering design studies indicated that the cost for building the plant has come down from $4 billion to $3.5 billion. One of the conditions for investors to reach a FID — a requirement for the government to start work on product pipelines — has also been met. The government has secured the corridor for associated infrastructure, such as a products pipeline that will run 213 km to the Buroba storage terminals. Construction of a multi-product pipeline will start in the second half of 2020, the energy ministry said in a report. The FID, which was initially planned for 2019, is now due to be finalized in the second quarter of 2020, after the development consortium concludes its FEED study, currently expected for June. The refinery will process crude from the Kingfisher and Tilega oil fields.

–Angola’s state-owned Sonangol said the first phase of its Cabinda refinery project will be completed by 2021, starting with a capacity of 30,000 b/d. An additional 30,000 b/d capacity will be added in the second phase. Thereafter the plant will focus on improving the specifications of the refined products it yields. Sonangol signed a contract with Gemcorp Capital for the construction of a 60,000 b/d refinery in Cabinda province. In December, Sonangol terminated a contract with the United Shine consortium for the construction of this refinery. Sonangol said the contract was canceled as “the consortium has not demonstrated the ability to prepare or carry out essential activities within the agreed period.”

–Sonatrach signed January 8 with the Spanish and Korean consortium Technicas Reunidas-Samsung Engineering the contract to build the new Hassi Messaoud refinery (100,000 b/d). The consortium that will build the refinery through this $ 3.7 billion contract is expected to deliver the refinery in the first half of 2024. The new refinery should enter into service in the first half of 2024. The contract includes the full performance of the refinery, including all processing and environmental units, as well as the necessary auxiliary services according to Sonatrach. The new refinery will be located at Haoud El Hamra in the Hassi Messaoud region, where the largest Algerian oil deposit is located (400,000 b/d). The petroleum products from the refinery will be adapted to European environmental standards (Euro V). Algeria has revised downwards its plans for rapid expansion of its downstream sector, abandoning its plans to build five new refineries of 5 million mt/yr and continuing with only two new projects, in Hassi Messaoud and at Tiaret.

–Equatorial Guinea plans to start construction on two modular refineries, each with a capacity of at least 20,000 b/d, by the end of 2020, the country’s energy minister said. The facilities will allow the country, which currently has no oil refineries, to meet its own refined product needs and export fuels to its neighbors, Gabriel Obiang Lima told reporters at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi. In November, Obiang said one of the refineries will be built at the Punta Europa complex located on Bioko Island, which is home to the bulk of its gas resources. Obiang said crude for this plant will be supplied from its Zafiro and Aseng fields and it will focus on producing gasoline, gasoil, kerosene and jet fuel, he said at the time. He also said the second modular refinery project will be located on the mainland, next to its regasification plant at Cogo, and will also run local crudes.

–Nigeria hopes to have its first modular oil refinery, built in the restive Niger Delta region, come on stream in May 2020, the oil ministry said. Modular refineries are crude oil processing facilities with capacities of up to 30,000 b/d and these are being built as part of plans to curb oil theft and promote peace in the country’s main oil producing region. According to the ministry, the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ohaji/Egbema, in southern Imo state, will consume 5,000 b/d of crude in the first phase, producing gasoline and diesel. The plant’s production capacity will be subsequently increased to 25,000 b/d of crude and condensate and will produce in addition LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel.

–State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. said it hoped to take a final investment decision for its condensate refinery project by July 2020. NNPC signed the front-end engineering design for the construction of the plant — which will be located in the Niger Delta — with engineering firm KBR. NNPC is partnered in the project by indigenous oil producer Seplat Petroleum. NNPC first announced in August 2018 plans to build a condensate refinery with capacity to refine 200,000 b/d of the condensate oil produced by the country.

–Africa Finance Corporation has signed an agreement with Brahms Oil Refineries Ltd to co-develop a refinery and storage terminal in the West African country, according to a joint statement. The deal means AFC will work on the development and subsequent financing of a petroleum storage and associated refinery project in Kamsar, Guinea. This will include a 12,000 b/d modular refinery, a 76,000 cu m crude oil storage terminal, a 114,200 cu m storage terminal for refined products, and ancillary transportation infrastructure. Guinea currently has no refineries and is entirely dependent on imports from neighboring Ivory Coast and Senegal for its fuel needs. AFC said the 12,000 b/d refinery will help the country meet a third of its demand for refined products.

–Safinat, the main investor and implementer of the Bentiu refinery project in South Sudan said it expected to start Block 1 with 3,000 b/d capacity. 80% of “the damaged and looted equipment necessary for the start of the block” has now been restored, the source said. Block 2 is scheduled to be restored and started in the first quarter of 2020, which will increase the total capacity of the plant up to 10,000 b/d. There are plans to increase capacity to 25,000 b/d. Restoration works on the site started in December 2018 but it is dependent on assistance from the government to minimize risks.

–Russian state development bank VEB has signed investment cooperation deals with African organizations including on financing a refinery in Morocco. The deals were signed during a Russia-Africa Summit. VEB said the memorandum on the oil refinery in Morocco was signed with the Russian Export Group and Morocco’s MYA Energy, part of the Marita Group. The refinery has a planned capacity of up to 5 million mt/year. Morocco’s sole refiner Samir was forced to halt processing at the Mohammedia plant in 2015 after crude oil deliveries were delayed due to financial problems. Since then attempts to resume operations or find an investor have been unsuccessful.

–Sonaref’s Joaquim de Sousa Fernandes, chairman of the executive council, said that the Lobito refinery in Angola is aimed for completion in 2025. The construction of the Lobito refinery has been frozen due to high costs. Sonangol has been under pressure to build a new refinery as it heavily depends on imports for its fuel requirements, but it canceled the Lobito project in 2016. It has indicated plans for building Lobito have been revived, for a 200,000 b/d plant.

–A consortium of Russian investors are planning a $4 billion project for a new refinery in Northern Zambia at the site of the country’s aging state-owned Indeni plant.

–Russian state-owned exploration company Rosgeologia is considering building the Red Sea Coast refinery in Port Sudan, which would supply landlocked countries in Africa. Sudan had begun discussions to develop a 200,000 b/d refinery on its Red Sea coast. The project’s timeline has not yet been disclosed. The only refinery currently operating in the country is the Khartoum, after the Port Sudan refinery closed in 2013 and was decommissioned.

–Nigeria has reached an agreement with neighbor Niger to build an oil refinery in a border town between Niger and Katsina state in northern Nigeria.

–Kenya is hoping to decide soon on the location for a new refinery in either Lamu or Mombasa.

–Ghana’s ministry of energy is in the process of submitting a proposal to build a new refinery in Tema. It will replace the 45,000 b/d Tema Oil Refinery. Separately, the government had set its sights on building a 150,000 b/d refinery in Takoradi.


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