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Angola Moves Ahead with Chinese Builders on Lobito Refinery

Angola’s state hydrocarbon company, Sonangol, has signed a memorandum of understanding with China National Chemical Engineering (CNCEC) to construct the Lobito Refinery in the coastal Benguela province.

Sonangol’s CEO, Gaspar Martins, signed the document in Beijing, in the presence of minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo.

The MoU follows a public tendering process launched in late 2022 for interested companies and individuals to invest in the Lobito refinery, in the country’s southwest. Private investors will own 70% of the company, the tender advised, with Sonangol controlling 30% stake, according to the proposed corporate governance structure.

Angolan news agency ANGOP reports that “the infrastructure will supply the domestic market and the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region”.

The Lobito Refinery, the largest of Angola’s four planned refinery projects -as newbuilds or overhaul- has the capacity to process 200, 000 barrels of oil per day.

Angola’s oldest refining facility, the 65 year old Luanda Refinery, underwent a refurbishment in the last three years; increasing gasoline production from 395,000 litres to 1.5Million litres per day.

The Cabinda refinery, under construction, with a capacity for 60,000BPSD, will enter the first phase of completion in late 2023, with the second phase expected to be completed in 2025. In this project, Sonangol holds 10% and GEMCORP 90% in terms of corporate structure.

In Soyo, Zaire province, the American company Quanten leads a consortium constructing the 100000BPSD Soyo Refinery under a build, own and operate (BOO) contract. Sonangol holds 10% in the corporate structure, while the Quanten led consortium retains 90%.

As recently as the end of December 2022, Quanten reported on its website it had completed the “Demining of the entire 712 hectares of the Soyo Refinery project site”.

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