Congo to construct US$600m oil refinery at the port city of Pointe-Noire

CONGO – The government of Congo has launched the construction of a US$600 million oil refinery near the port city of Pointe-Noire, an initiative that aims to increase domestic refining capacity and offset chronic fuel shortages in the country.

The ground-breaking ceremony was presided over  by President Denis Sassou Nguesso and represented as a pivotal moment for the nation’s energy sector.

According toJean-Marc Thystère Tchicaya, Congolese minister of hydrocarbons, “The refinery will produce automotive and aviation gasoline, liquified petroleum gas, diesel, lubricants, bitumen, kerosene and other products.” 

The 2.5 mtpa Atlantic Petrochemical Refinery is expected to diversify national exports away from crude oil.

As reported in the Africa Oil & Power, the refinery will be constructed in two phases; the first phase aims to incorporate the engineering and procurement stage, as well as the construction, commissioning and the start-up of core refining units, carrying a minimum capacity of 65,000 bpd.

“The refinery will be an important link in the diversification of the economy in Congo”

This phase focuses on fulfilling domestic demand and is designed to run fully on Djeno light crudes, stated the source.

The source further added that commencing in quarter four of 2022, the second phase is set to incorporate additional units for full conversion ability, in which the refinery aims to maximise unit capacity and operate at 110,000 barrels per day. 

Apart from this, the added production is set to allow regional export.

While Congo is currently the fourth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, it has only one refinery unit (Congolaise de raffinage) that has a capacity of one million tons per year, and that only processes about 60% of that capacity.

It is therefore not able to meet the demand for refined oil products in the Central African Country which is approximately 1.2 million tons per year.

With a nominal processing capacity of 2.5 million tons per year that could be increased if need be, the Atlantic Petrochemical Refinery plant will not only close the gap between the demand and supply of refined oil products in Congo but also diversify and consolidate the industrial fabric of the country which depends essentially on oil, its first source of export.

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