Congo launches construction of $600-Million Oil Refinery

Congo launches construction of $600-Million Oil Refinery

The Republic of the Congo has launched the construction of US $600-Million oil refinery near the port city of Pointe-Noire to help end the persistent fuel shortages facing the Central African state.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by President Denis Sassou Nguesso and represented as a pivotal moment for the nation’s hydrocarbon sector, which seeks to increase domestic refining capacity and offset chronic fuel shortages.

The Atlantic Petrochemical Refinery will have a capacity of 2.5 million tons per annum (mtpa) serving to diversify national exports away from crude oil.

The oil refinery will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 will incorporate the engineering and procurement stage, as well as the construction, commissioning and start-up of core refining units, which carry a minimum capacity of 65,000 barrels per day (bpd). This phase focuses on fulfilling domestic demand and is designed to run fully on Djeno light crudes.

Phase 2, commencing in fourth quarter of 2022, will incorporate additional units for full conversion ability, in which the refinery aims to maximize unit capacity and operate at 110,000 bpd. Additional production will allow for regional export and the refinery will be designed to run heavy to medium grade crudes.

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According to Congolese Minister of Hydrocarbons Jean-Marc Thystère Tchicaya, the refinery will produce automotive and aviation gasoline, liquified petroleum gas, diesel, lubricants, bitumen, kerosene and other products. “The new refinery is an important link in the diversification the economy in the hydrocarbons sector,” he said.

While Congo-Brazzaville is currently the fourth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, it has only one refinery – Congolaise de raffinage, that only meets a small percentage of regional demand for petroleum by-products.  Congolaise de raffinage has a capacity of one million tons per year, and only processes about 60% of that capacity against the 1.2-mtpa demand for refined oil products.

Through the development of the Point-Noire facility the Republic of the Congo is re-directing its focus on regional energy growth. The new refinery is expected to transform the national economy and grant the Republic of the Congo regional exporter status.