The Ivory Coast’s only oil refinery may have to close next month due to lack of crude oil supply. The shortage is a direct result of sanctions imposed on the West African nation following a disputed election on Nov 28.
Joel Dervain, managing director of the Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage plant, said that ‘by mid-April if we have no crude the whole refinery will be shut down. We have no financial means to purchase the crude because all the assets were frozen. We have been under sanctions. We have filed legal proceedings. We are waiting for the results.’
The country has been gripped by a political crisis since the electoral commission named Alassane Ouattara the winner of the presidential elections and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power. On January 14, the EU banned transactions between the union and several industries in Ivory Coast in an attempt to starve Gbagbo of funds.
The country’s refinery is situated in Abidjan and has the capacity to process approximately 80 000 bpd. The plant is currently operating at a rate of 25 000 to 30 000 bpd and is fast depleting its stockpiled crude, Dervain said.
The country’s government has a 28% stake in the refinery, while Burkina Faso’s government holds 5%. Total SA owns another 25% and Sonangol SA, Angola’s state-owned oil company, has 20%.
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