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Upgrades, launches in focus in Africa

Progress on upgrades and new launches were in the focus in Africa.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC, reported on Jan. 2 that upgrade at Port Harcourt continued despite a fire. There was a fire incidence at the Port Harcourt refinery caused by a spark from a fuel truck, which lasted for two hours before it was put out.

Meanwhile, Angola’s Cabinda refinery is on track for launch of its first phase and expectations are rife for the commissioning of the Dangote refinery in Nigeria, where some of the modular refineries are coming online.

Near-term maintenance

Existing entries

** Senegal’s sole refinery in Dakar is starting a four-month maintenance, local media reported, citing a statement by the refinery. The maintenance, which started Nov. 29, will ensure the “continuity of supplying” the local market with oil products. During the maintenance, which will continue until March, the refinery will align new units with the existing equipment. The upgrade is part of the refinery’s capacity expansion as well as adaptation of its units to process Senegalese crude oil. The Dakar refinery has plans to increase its capacity to 1.5 million mt/year, S&P Global Platts has reported previously.

** Congo’s Pointe Noire refinery is expected to have a minor shutdown in late January-early February, followed by a full turnaround later in 2022, according to consulting company CITAC Africa. The refinery was expected carry out works in 2021, S&P Global Platts has reported previously.

** Zambia’s Indeni refinery has been put “on care and maintenance”, according to local media report citing energy minister Peter Kapala. The refinery has missed several timelines this year for a restart after operations were suspended December 2020 for both financial and technical reasons. It was expected to restart by the end of 2021.

** Ghana’s sole oil refinery, Tema, remains offline and the plant is unlikely to restart for a few more months due to a lack of crude and feedstock. The plant has been hit by several issues over the past few years, experiencing intermittent outages at its crude distillation unit and FCC unit. The CDU currently only has one furnace, which means the refinery can only operate around 30,000 b/d capacity.

** South Africa’s Engen said it will be proceeding with the conversion of its Durban refinery into a terminal. The refinery has been shut since a fire and explosion on Dec. 4. 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.

** South Africa’s Astron Energy Cape Town refinery is expecting to restart “at some point” in 2022, the company said. The refinery has been halted since an incident in July 2020 involving a fire.

** Cameroon’s Limbe refinery, which suffered a fire at the end of May 2019, remains offline. Local media reported the restart was not expected until 2021.


New and revised entries

** NNPC said early January 2022 that it remained on track to complete rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery located in the southern Rivers state on schedule, despite a recent fire outbreak at the facility. The Port Harcourt refinery has been shut down since late 2020 for a major overhaul aimed at restoring the facility to optimum performance. The repair work on the refinery, which is being handled by Italian engineering company Tecnimont, began in April 2021 and NNPC had said previously that the first phase of the exercise would be completed in 18 months. Nigeria’s refineries, which include the northern Kaduna and the Warri refineries, have been shut for repairs since early 2019, and NNPC expects them to operate at around 90% of capacity when repairs are completed and they resume production by 2023. But this timeline is expected to be pushed back as 2020 saw numerous delays, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Repairs at the Warri and Kaduna plants would commence immediately after Port Harcourt.

Existing entries

** Senegal’s sole refinery in Dakar is starting a four-month maintenance, local media reported, citing a statement by the refinery. During the maintenance, which started Nov. 29 and will continue until March, the refinery will align new units with the existing equipment. The upgrade is part of the refinery’s capacity expansion as well as adaptation of its units to process Senegalese crude oil. The Dakar refinery has plans to increase its capacity to 1.5 million mt/year, S&P Global Platts has reported previously.

** Cote d’Ivoire’s SIR refinery will use use Honeywell UOP Distillate Unionfining technology to produce diesel that complies with both AFRI 6 and Euro-V emission standards, technology supplier Honeywell said. The investment is part of a Cote d’Ivoire clean air program and SIR’s refinery modernization, Honeywell added.

** Italy’s Kinetics Technology has been awarded a contract to build a naphtha hydrotreater and platformer at Angola’s sole oil refinery in Luanda. Sonangol is also in the process of building a fluid catalytic cracker along with Italy’s Eni at Luanda to reduce its dependence on gasoline imports.

** KBR has been awarded a contract from South Africa’s Sapref for its FCC regenerator project. The project will allow the refinery “to improve the reliability and integrity of the FCC unit by optimizing its catalyst and air distribution,” KBR said in a statement.

** 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.

** TechnipFMC said it has “successfully completed the remaining conditions to enable work to commence” on the EPC contract for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a new hydrocracker at Egypt’s Assiut refinery. The contract includes process units such as vacuum distillation, delayed coker, distillate hydrotreater and a hydrogen production facility. It also 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.

** 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

** 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.

** Angola’s Cabinda refinery will process 30,000 b/d from the middle of this year after the completion of the first phase of construction, according to a report by the country’s ANGOP news agency.

Construction of the refinery, built by Gemcorp, involving a first phase, which will be completed this year, includes construction of a CDU, desalter unit, kerosene treatment unit and ancillary infrastructures. The ancillary infrastructure includes a conventional buoy mooring system, pipelines and storage facility for over 1.2 million barrels.

The second and third phase will see capacity expanded to 60,000 b/d and the addition of catalytic reformer, catalytic cracker and hydrotreater.

Gemcorp signed a contract with state-owned Sonangol in early 2020 to build the 60,000 b/d capacity refinery, S&P Global Platts has reported previously. Full site clearance and preparation has been completed in August 2020. Phase 1 is expected to include a 30,000 b/d CDU with a desalter, kerosene treatment and ancillary infrastructures including a conventional buoy mooring system, pipelines and storage facility for over 1.2 million barrels. It was due to be commissioned in Q1-Q2 2022.

Existing entries

** The Dangote refinery in Nigeria is on track to be operational from early 2022 despite some delays caused by shipping constraints, Devakumar V.G. Edwin, an executive director at Dangote Industries, told S&P Global Platts on Nov. 1. The project suffered some delays last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The start-up date of the refinery, which was first announced in 2013, has been repeatedly delayed. The refinery received most of its key refining units, such as the columns that make up the plant’s crude distillation unit reactor, regenerator and fluid catalytic cracker, in 2019.

** 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.

** The Angolan government has launched a tender process for companies interesting in investing in the country’s biggest refinery project in Lobito in southern Angola. Sonangol said it had already carried about economic feasibility studies, the dredging of Lobito bay, and other technical work that “will allow potential partners to act more effectively.” The project was initially canceled in 2016 only to be revived a few years later. Sonangol is now banking on this refinery coming online in 2025.

** Algeria’s Sonatrach expects the Hassi Messaoud refinery to start operations in 2024.

Construction was launched at the beginning of 2020 and the refinery’s start-up has been expected for H2 2024. Sonatrach has contracted with Spanish and South Korean consortium Technicas Reunidas-Samsung Engineering to build the new refinery. Hassi Messaoud, Biskra and Tiaret had been part of the government’s 2021-24 oil sector plan, with each refinery intended to have a 5 million mt/year capacity.

However, investment decisions on the refinery projects in Biskra and Tiaret would not be made before 2025.

** 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.

** Angola’s oil ministry has named the Quantem Consortium, led by US company Quantem, as the winner of the tender to build, open and operate the planned 100,000 b/d Soyo refinery. The refinery was expected to be completed in about three to four years. The selected company or joint venture will finance the construction of the plant on a build-operate-transfer 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. That also involves refurbishing the refinery in Luanda.

** 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.

** Uganda expects its new Albertine Graben refinery to be launched in 2024 but in the meantime is exploring options on how to fund its 40% stake in the facility. The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium, led by Italy’s Saipem, owns the remaining 60% in the refinery. A final investment decision for the new plant is expected in 2022. The FID was initially planned for 2019, while the completion of the refinery was expected in 2023.

** 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.
Source: Platts

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