The Refining Gap Closes, Inch by Inch/Our Latest Issue - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

The Refining Gap Closes, Inch by Inch/Our Latest Issue

It seems such a long time ago now that Angola and South Africa presented the cases for large scale refinery investment, in their respective countries, at the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg.

South Africa, host of the 2005 event, was the flavour of the month at the time; 11 years after its first democratic elections. Angola was on a full throttle, with first oil from the first of its several, newly discovered, deepwater fields, gushing out, increasing its output to historic highs.

The former, through PetroSA, announced plans for Project Mthombo: a 400,000Barrels Per Stream Day (BPSD) refinery slated to be located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The latter, through Sonangol,  informed the delegates about progress on a planned 200,000BPSD plant, scheduled for installation in Lobito, at a cost of $2Billion-$3Billion. Some 50%-60% of the Lobito plant was envisaged to be owned by foreign investors, with (state hydrocarbon firm) Sonangol allocated the remaining 40%.

18 years later, the South African dream has been crumpled by the procrastination of the state. But Angola has pushed on, continuing to figure a way out and in the next 24 months, it will have over 75,000BPSD addition to its in-country refining capacity.

The “building”, as they say, “is taking shape”.

Nine years ago, Aliko Dangote, a private entity, announced the decision to construct a 650,000BPD refinery, larger than the sizes of the Lobito and Mbotho refineries combined. And everyone, it seems, is now complaining that the mammoth facility is not yet completed. We haven’t even given him due credit for delivering a 1Million Tonne Per Annum (1MMTPA) fertilizer complex, mopping up 180MMscf/d of Nigerian gas, en route to commissioning of the refinery.

The refining boom has come a tad late for the continent. It is 20 years to the end of the fossil fuel era. But the struggle, as they say, continues.

Welcome to the REFINING GAP ANNUAL 2023, our tenth yearly look at refining opportunities.

Our special story in this issue is on the mini-refining landscape, titled: Nigeria: Thinking Big about Small Things. Read it here.

The Africa Oil+Gas Report is the primer of the hydrocarbon industry on the continent. It is the market leader in local contextualizing of global developments and policy issues and is the go-to medium for international corporations, local entrepreneurs, technical enterprises or financing institutions, for useful analyses of Africa’s oil and gas industry. It has been published by the Festac News Press Limited since November 2001, and since the COVID 19 season, as a monthly digital (pdf) publication, emailed to subscribers around the world. Its website remains and the contact email address is Contact telephone numbers in our West African regional headquarters in Lagos are  +2347062420127, +2348036525979, +2348023902519.

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  1. Angola oil refinery program going ahead

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