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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Progress reported on some projects in Africa
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Angola has reported progress on its refinery projects, which include the new Lobito and Cabinda refineries as well as the upgrade of Luanda.
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However a number of refineries in Africa, that have been carrying maintenance, remain offline, including Dakar and Pointe Noire, with uncertain prospects for the restart of Tema.
New and revised entries
** Some rehabilitation and maintenance work at Ghana’s sole oil refinery Tema has begun though an exact time period for the restart of the plant has not yet been decided, a source close to the matter said May 26. “The plants have been down since April 2021. It is not very clear as to when exactly processing will begin yet,” the source told S&P Global Commodity Insights. “Few maintenance works are being carried out here and there.” In early-May, the country’s President Nana Akufo-Addo had said that “intense” steps were being taken by the government to rehabilitate the refinery in a bid to tackle the recent rally in oil prices. The plant only operated for about two months last year. It was expected to come back online in the second-half of last year but due to lack of feedstocks and technical problems the restart was shelved.
** Libya’s Zawiya oil refinery has sustained damage due to armed clashes at the facility on the evening of April 22, state-owned National Oil Corp. said.
** South Africa’s largest refinery Sapref will carry out a phased shutdown of its facility, the company said in a Facebook post March 31. “We are commencing with a staggered shutting down of our units followed by decontamination phase. There may be flaring and steam venting over the next two weeks,” the company said. S&P Global Commodity Insights previously reported that the refinery will halt operations indefinitely by the end of March as its owners consider the future of the plant including a future sale of the asset, the plant’s joint owner BP said in a statement Feb. 10, adding that a restart was possible in the future.
** Cameroon’s Limbe refinery, which suffered from a fire at the end of May 2019, remains offline, with the government considering whether to repair the damaged plant or build a new site, according to a source close to the refinery. The fire mostly damaged a fractionation unit used for gasoline production, but the CDU is fairly intact, the source said. The refinery increased its capacity to 72,000 b/d from 45,000 b/d shortly before the explosion happened through an upgrade program, which involved the construction of a vacuum distillation unit, a catalytic reformer and a power plant.
** Senegal’s sole refinery in Dakar is undergoing maintenance and upgrade. It is building a new preflash unit and expanding the catalytic reformer. The refinery started a four-month maintenance in November, during which the refinery would align new units with existing equipment, S&P Global Commodity Insights has reported. The upgrade is part of the refinery’s capacity expansion as well as adaptation of units to process Senegalese crude oil. The Dakar refinery has plans to increase its capacity to 1.5 million mt/year.
** Zambia’s Indeni refinery continues to be offline as the government is looking to overhaul operations at the plant after it was closed down due to financial and technical reasons, a refinery spokesperson said Feb. 22. “The refinery is now on care and maintenance, as the shareholder looks at remodeling the business,” the spokesperson said. “Operations have effectively been mothballed, with all products being imported.” The refinery’s operations have been suspended since late-December 2020 due to financial and technical reasons.
** Congo’s Pointe Noire refinery will carry a full two-month turnaround in June, according to consulting company CITAC Africa. The refinery had been expected to carry out works in 2021.
** South Africa’s Astron Energy Cape Town refinery is expecting to restart in the second half of 2022, the company said Jan. 25. It is currently “in the process of rebuilding the affected section” of the refinery “with a view of the safe restart,” it said. The refinery has been halted since an incident in July 2020 involving an explosion and fire.
** South Africa’s Engen said it would proceed with the conversion of its Durban refinery into a terminal. The refinery has been shut since a fire and explosion in December 2020. The refinery-terminal conversion was expected to be commissioned in Q3 2023.
** Libya’s Ras Lanuf remains offline without any timeline for its restart. The refinery was shut in 2013.
New and revised entries
** The upgrade of Angola’s Luanda refinery is on the final stretch, ANGOP reported. Sonangol said in March that the upgrade was nearing completion. It will increase gasoline production from 72,000 mt/year to 450,000 mt/year with the project due to be completed in June and production expected to start in August 2022. The refinery will process the naphtha it currently exports. Italy’s Kinetics Technology has been awarded a contract to build a naphtha hydrotreater and platformer. Sonangol is also in the process of building a fluid catalytic cracker along with Italy’s Eni.
** State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. said the first phase of rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in southern Rivers state was nearing completion and set for restart in Q1 2023. The Port Harcourt refinery has been shut since late 2020 for a major overhaul aimed at restoring the facility to optimum performance. “The rehabilitation work on the Port Harcourt refinery is progressing well and on course to meet the scheduled target of completion. The refinery will resume operation in the first quarter of next year, to start first with refining 50,000 b/d of crude oil,” NNPC spokesperson Garba Deen Muhammad told S&P Global. “By the fourth quarter of next year when the full rehabilitation of the refinery is completed, we will achieve full refinery capacity,” Muhammed said. Repair work on the refinery, being handled by Italian engineer Tecnimont, began in April 2021.
Nigeria’s refineries, which include the northern Kaduna and the Warri refineries, have been shut for repairs since early 2019 and NNPC says it expects them to operate at around 90% of capacity when repairs are completed and they resume production by 2023. That timeline was expected to be pushed back, partly on delays exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Repairs at the Warri and Kaduna will commence immediately after Port Harcourt.
** Sogara, Gabon’s sole refinery, is working on building a new hydrocracker, according to a source close to the refinery. The unit, which will allow the refinery to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel, is expected to come online in 2025.
** Cote d’Ivoire’s SIR refinery is in the process of upgrades, a company source said at the ARDA conference. The refinery expects to complete a FEED study into a new diesel desulfurization unit by the end of 2022 and commission the unit, which will enable it to produce 10 ppm diesel, by the end of 2025 or early 2026. Separately, it is working on CDU capacity expansion by 20% and a new reformer construction which will enable it to improve gasoline production. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2027. The refinery is also expecting to launch a modular power plant which will help it to produce electricity from natural gas and to improve energy efficiency.
** Senegal’s sole refinery in Dakar is currently undergoing maintenance and upgrade. It is building a new preflash unit and expanding the catalytic reformer. The refinery started maintenance in November 2021 during which the refinery would align new units with existing equipment, S&P Global has reported. The upgrade is part of the refinery’s capacity expansion as well as adaptation of units to process Senegalese crude oil. The Dakar refinery has plans to increase its capacity to 1.5 million mt/year.
** Construction of the hydrocracker complex at Egypt’s Assiut is expected to be completed in Q4, 2023. Technip Energies said in late 2020 that it had “successfully completed the remaining conditions to enable work to commence” on its contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the new hydrocracker. The contract includes process units such as vacuum distillation, diesel hydrocracker, delayed coker, distillate hydrotreater and a hydrogen production facility. The project also includes other process units as well as interconnecting. It will transform lower value products into about 2.8 million mt/year of cleaner products, such as Euro 5 diesel. 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 a 2.3 million mt/year hydrocracker.
** State-run Indeni Oil Refinery, Zambia’s only refinery, has plans to double its capacity to 2.2 million mt/yr once rehabilitation works are completed. This will be up from the current capacity of 1.1 million mt/year.
** Kenya is considering converting its shuttered Mombasa refinery to a biofuel plant using technology provided by Italy’s Eni. The Mombasa refinery, Eastern Africa’s sole refinery, was shut down in 2013. Kenya is deciding upon a location for a new refinery in either Lamu or Mombasa.
** The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has reviewed a provision of up to $250 million sovereign loan to the Alexandria Petroleum Company to finance resources and energy efficiency investments and other modernization investments. The project includes the installation of a new vapor recovery unit, continuous emissions monitoring system and a burner management system. An expansion program at Egypt’s Middle East Oil Refinery near Alexandria is on track for 2022, which will push capacity to 160,000 b/d.
** The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, approved a $50 million loan for an upgrade of Egypt’s Suez refinery aimed at introducing cleaner fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.
New and revised entries
** Angola’s Sonangol has marked the beginning of the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) work for the new Lobito refinery. Sonangol expects to complete the Lobito refinery project, a single train refinery with a hydrocracker, in September 2026-February 2027. The project was halted in 2016 but has since resumed.
** The first stone has been laid for the new Soyo refinery in Angola early May 2022. Construction was expected to start in April and be completed in 2025.
** The equipment for the first phase of Angola’s new refinery in the Cabinda province has been successfully tested in Houston, Texas, and will soon be shipped to Angola as the plant is prepared to come online in mid-2022, Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas said May 3. The equipment was made by Houston-based VFuels Oil and Gas Engineering, which specializes in the design and fabrication of modular refineries and gas plants. The first phase involves construction of a modular CDU, desalter unit, kerosene treatment unit and ancillary infrastructure including a conventional buoy mooring system, pipelines and storage for over 1.2 million barrels. Under its first phase, which will be completed in July, Cabinda will process 30,000 b/d. The second and third phases will see processing capacity expanded to 60,000 b/d and the addition of a catalytic reformer, catalytic cracker and hydrotreater. Gemcorp signed a contract with state-owned Sonangol in early 2020 to build the refinery. Full site clearance and preparation was completed in late-2020.
** Algeria’s new Hassi Messaoud refinery is 90% complete, Middle East Monitor reported April 28, citing Sonatrach. The refinery is ready to start processing 60,000 b/d, the report said. Construction on the refinery started at the beginning of 2020 and the refinery’s start-up was expected in the second half of 2024, S&P Global Commodity Insights reported previously. Sonatrach has contracted the Spanish and South Korean consortium, Technicas Reunidas-Samsung Engineering, to build the new refinery. Hassi Messaoud, Biskra and Tiaret were part of the government’s 2021-24 oil sector plan, with each refinery intended to have a 5 million mt/year capacity. The technical, architectural and land development studies for the facilities was completed in 2017. Investment decisions on the refinery’s projects in Biskra and Tiaret would not be made before 2025.
** The Dangote refinery in Nigeria is scheduled to commence production by the fourth quarter of this year after the completion of test runs at the plant, Nigerian government and company officials said. “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the refinery will commence production by the fourth quarter of this year,” Devakumar Edwin, CEO of Dangote Group, said April 3 while leading Nigerian government officials on a tour of the refinery, according to a company statement. “We have completed 75% hydraulic testing,” he said, along with 70% of electrical cable fitting. The startup date has been repeatedly pushed back. The project suffered some delays last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. In August 2021, the Nigerian government, through the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company, said it was acquiring a 20% stake in the Dangote project. NNPC is also expected to supply 300,000 b/d of crude to the 650,000 b/d refinery as part of the deal.
** The expected start-up of Uganda’s planned 60,000 b/d oil refinery has been delayed to 2027 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, Ruth Nankabirwa, Uganda’s energy minister, said March 21. It was expected to come online in 2024-25. Nankabirwa said the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC) had made significant progress in pre-final investment decisions and planned to expedite all pending activity so the refinery’s final investment decision is undertaken by the end of next year. The refinery will be built at Kabaale in Hoima District, near the Lake Albert oil fields, and will also have a 211 km long multi-products pipeline that will ship refined products such as gasoline, LPG and kerosene to a storage terminal near the capital Kampala.
** The Edo refinery, in Ikpoba, Edo State, Nigeria, is currently in the process of expanding its capacity to 36,000 b/d, according to a source close to the refinery. The 6,000 b/d modular refinery was launched in September 2021 and is running at full capacity. Its production includes 50% gasoil, 28% naphtha and the rest is 0.5% fuel oil. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Upon the completion, the refinery will be producing naphtha, ULSD, ULSFO and LPG.
** South Sudan’s Bentiu refinery near Juba in Unity state, which started operations in March 2021, is still running at 3,000 b/d but the government is aiming to boost runs to its nameplate capacity of 10,000 b/d, according to South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang Chol. Bentiu had been offline since 2014 after suffering damage in clashes connected to the country’s civil war. Repair and upgrading works had been due to finish by the end of 2019 but did not meet this deadline and then travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to evacuation of engineers at the site in early 2020, causing further delays.
** South Sudan is planning to build four more refineries by the end of this decade to increase its refining potential. Trinity Energy was in advanced preparations to start building a 40,000 b/d refinery near the Palouch oil fields in the Upper Nile. Construction was planned to start in the first quarter of 2019, but COVID-19 and electricity power outages delayed it. One of the refineries is set to be based in Tharjiath.
** KBR has been awarded a front-end engineering design, or FEED, for Bua Group’s new, modern refinery facility in Nigeria. Bua Group plans to build a 200,000 b/d integrated refinery and petrochemical plant in Akwa Ibom, according to its website. The plant aims to produce Euro 5 fuels and polypropylene for the domestic and regional markets.
** Modular facilities in Nigeria are nearing completion, including the 10,000 b/d plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and the 10,000 b/d modular refinery Ibigwe, in Imo State.
** Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC, is close to taking a final investment decision (FID) with some investors to build a 50,000 b/d condensate refinery. NNPC signed the front-end engineering design for the construction of the plant — which will be in the Niger Delta — with engineering firm KBR. 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.
** Nigeria commissioned in 2020 the country’s first modular oil refinery, built in Imo state by Waltersmith. The commissioning involved the first phase of the refinery with a capacity to refine 5,000 b/d of crude. It would eventually raise capacity to 45,000 b/d.
** 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.
** The Ministry of Hydrocarbons of Guinea has signed a memorandum of understanding with logistics firm United Mining Supply to set up an oil refinery. UMS has said it will carry out a feasibility study to construct a refinery in Moribayah.
** Africa Finance Corp., or AFC, has signed an agreement with Brahms Oil Refineries Ltd. to co-develop a refinery and storage terminal in Guinea. 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.
** The construction of Republic of Congo’s Atlantic Petrochemical Refinery project has begun. The government signed a deal with China’s Beijing Fortune Dingsheng Investment Co. Ltd., or BFDI, to construct a 2.5 million mt/year refinery in the port city of Pointe Noire. The Chinese company is also keen on launching a petrochemical complex in the country. The African oil producer currently has only one refinery, the 27,000 b/d CORAF plant, which is also located in Pointe Noire.
** The Cameroon government is looking to build a new refinery in the southern port city of Kribi with a capacity of 4 million mt/year after operations at its sole refinery in Limbe were crippled due to a major fire in 2019. Kribi has been chosen as the site as it is already home to the country’s main crude export terminal.
** Equatorial Guinea’s 5,000 b/d modular oil refinery project at Punta Europa is expected to receive an FID in Q1 2022. The government is hoping to build two modular refineries in the country, one at the Punta Europa complex on Bioko Island, and the other at Cogo on the mainland.
** Benin is looking to launch the construction of a new refinery. A committee will look at the feasibility studies for the project and will also analyze the market prospects until 2030. The project will be developed as a public-private partnership.
** Russian state development bank VEB has signed investment cooperation deals with African organizations on financing a refinery in Morocco. 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.
** A consortium of Russian investors is 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.
** 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 has set its sights on building a 150,000 b/d refinery in Takoradi.
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