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Early May downstream news update: Africa, Asia and the Middle East

Hydrocarbon Engineering,



Kenya’s sole refinery, based in Mombasa, is facing financial crisis that could trigger fuel shortages across the east Africa region.

Financial shortfalls were triggered partially by a dispute between itself and oil marketers over the uplift of refined products. The refinery said marketers had boycotted its products, hurting operations and stoking a cash flow crisis.

The marketers claim that inefficiencies at the refinery have made processed oil products more costly than those imported directly. They have threatened to boycott the facility completely from July; currently, they are lifting only 65 000 t of the plant’s monthly refining capacity of 130 000 t.


The Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield has destroyed 748 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta within the last four months. 498 people, suspected of being involved in illegal refining, were also arrested over this period. 



Chinese residents are becoming increasingly vocal in regards to their opposition to new refining projects in the country. In the southwest city of Kunming, thousands of people have gathered to protest a planned refinery in the nearby city of Anning. In particular, the environmentally concerned protesters oppose the production of chemical paraxylene (PX); high levels of exposure to PX can irritate the eyes and cause respiratory discomfort.

Meanwhile, officials in Chengdu are worried about potential similar disturbances in protest against a planned refinery in nearby Pengshou.

Both of the above mentioned new refineries are the projects of state oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation.


Deputy energy ministers from Indonesia and Iraq have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), outlining plans for cooperation in upstream and downstream sectors. Indonesian officials hope that a business to business partnership will be established between Indonesia’s state owned oil and gas company, PT Pertamina and Iraq National Oil Company (INOC), leading to the construction of several new local refineries that will help to meet growing domestic demand.

Middle East

Abu Dhabi

South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi have announced the commencement of operations of Basrah Gas Company (BGC), which will be the largest gas project in Iraq’s history and the world’s largest flares reduction project.

Basrah Gas Company is a joint venture between Iraq’s South Gas Company (51% of shares), Shell (44%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (5%). The venture captures associated gas that is currently being flared from three oil fields in southern Iraq; Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair.


The National Iranian Oil Engineering Construction Company (NIOEC) has announced that construction of the Abadan refinery will commence within the next couple of months. This announcement follows agreements made with a Chinese financier. The new refinery has a planned capacity of 210 000 bbl.


Byco Group is continuing standard maintenance on both of its refineries: The 35 000 bpd Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL) and the 120 000 bpd Byco Oil Pakistan Limited (BOPL).

Saudi Arabia

A man has been killed in an accident caused by a gas leak in Saudi Aramco’s Jeddah refinery. The accident occurred during a periodic preventive maintenance exercise. Aramco has offered condolences to the victim’s family.

The leakage was immediately stopped following the incident and the company’s operations were not affected.


AUS$ 94 million has been invested in a new waste water treatment facility for the Shell Geelong refinery, despite uncertainty in regards to the future of the plant.

The new project will save two billion l/y for Geelong.

The refinery has been on the market since the beginning of April and Shell hopes to have a buyer by the beginning of next year.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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