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Refinery construction projects abound in Africa

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Construction has begun on two new refinery projects in Angola and South Sudan, while an environmental survey will begin next year to assess the impact of building an oil processing facility in Uganda.


Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol), the Angolan state oil company, has taken the first steps towards construction of the Lobito oil refinery. When completed, the refinery will have the capacity to process 100 000 bpd.

The eventual aim of the project is to eliminate Angola’s reliance on fuel and lubricant imports, with a view to the becoming energy independent.

Sonangol is now beginning to launch the tenders for detailed engineering, which has been concluded, and for financing to build all the units that will serve the facility.

The refinery, which will create an estimated 10 000 direct and indirect jobs, will be located 10 km from the city of Lobito and will supply Angola and neighbouring countries with oil derivatives. The facility will process oil extracted in Angola to produce unleaded gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, LPG and small amounts of sulfur. The total cost of the project is estimated to be US$ 8 billion.

South Sudan

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mining has signed an agreement with a Russian oil company to build an oil refinery in Bentiu in order to provide fuel for the new independent country.

The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, paving the way for implementation of the project following further approval by the Council of Ministers.

Although South Sudan has substantial oil production, the nascent nation has no facilities for processing, despite the high domestic demand for fuel. It imports variety of fuel from neighbouring countries; however, high prices and supply scarcity often prove problematic.

The proposed Bentiu refinery is the second project of its kind to reach the level of implementation after the Tangrial refinery project in the Melut area of Upper Nile state. The foundations of this project were laid In November.

The two oil refinery projects remain a long way from completion, and be up to two years before either begins producing fuel for the South Sudanese market.


An environmental baseline survey on the proposed land for the establishment of an oil refinery at Kabaale, Uganda, will begin in January. The aim of the four month study is to discover and assess any future environmental impacts that may accrue during refinery construction and oil production.

The construction of the refinery, which will process crude oil for local consumption and export, comes after commercial deposits of approximately 3.5 billion barrels were discovered in the AlbertineGrabben in 2006.

Consultants from Green Impacts Development Services have been surveying the 29 km2 of land that is earmarked for the refinery. After this, an inception report will be submitted and discussed before work starts in 2013.

The firm will also document the state of local water sources, as the facility is expected to use significant amounts of the resource. This will help ascertain whether the refinery will strain the proximate water bodies, and whether the refinery operators will need to look for alternative sources of water.

Edited from various sources by Joe Hester.

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