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VFuels wins bid for a Modular Refinery FEED in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, supported by its strategic partner Marathon Oil Corp., has awarded VFuels Oil & Gas Engineering (VFuels) the feasibility study for the construction of a modular refinery in Punta Europa, Malabo.

The study will include the engineering and design of a 5,000Barrels Stream PerDay (BSPD) modular refinery to supply refined products for the country’s domestic consumption. The study is expected to be delivered within 12 weeks of the contract’s signature.

Equatorial Guinea is seeking investments for a modular refinery in the continental region, storage tanks and the promotion of other projects derived from methanol, among others, according to a government statement.

“This is an important step when it comes to implementing this project with an important goal to prevent stock outs, and provide refined products of higher quality to economic operators and the general public,” stated Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The experience and track record of VFuels in engineering and design of modular refineries at an international level, could be beneficial to this project and Equatorial Guinea.”

The award follows up a meeting in January between President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Mr. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Marathon Oil Chairman, President and CEO Lee Tillman and Executive Vice President Mitch Little, during which Marathon Oil reiterated its commitment to Equatorial Guinea and towards the development of the country’s Gas Mega Hub. Marathon Oil had then declared its support to construct a modular refinery in Punta Europa by undertaking a conceptual study on the Ministry’s behalf.

Both parties had also agreed to immediately commence feasibility studies related to methanol to gasoline and other methanol derivatives, in coordination with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

Equatorial Guinea Shortlists Investors for Refineries, Methanol Plant and Storage Tanks

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) has announced the key companies shortlisted for the execution of its landmark projects under its ongoing Year of Investment.
At Punta Europa, where most of Equatorial Guinea’s gas and energy activities are currently located, the country plans to build a modular refinery, storage tanks and a methanol-to-derivatives plant.

Interested companies for the modular refinery include Marathon Oil, an American independent, Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, a Spanish-Russian consortium and Rosslyn Energy of Britain.

The latter is also interested in the development of the Storage Tanks, along with British company Orange Resources Worldwide and the China Communications Construction Company.

Finally, the Methanol-to-Derivatives project has attracted the interest of South African company Pan African Energy, Nigerian company Bugabi Group, and Danish catalysis company Haldor Topsoe.

At Kogo South of the nation’s economic capital Bata, the second Modular Refinery project has attracted the interest of Egyptian company Petrojet, British company Rosslyn Energy, the Spanish-Russian consortium of Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, and UAE-based SDLE International DMCC. Meanwhile, South African company Grindstone Resources and Omani company MSS LLC are both shortlisted for the gold refinery project and the Minerals Industrial Zone.

”While the MMH is still registering interest from additional players, including Chinese companies, these are the shortlisted potential investors for these projects so far”, the Ministry says in a statement.

Angola Approves Nine Proposals for Soyo Refinery

Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Oil has selected nine of the 31 proposals presented for the construction of a refinery in Soyo, a city located in the province of Zaire, at the mouth of the Congo River.

The proposals were submitted in response to the international public tender.

Companies and consortia selected include SDRC, Jiangsu Sinochem Construction, Quantem Consortium, CMEC, AIDA and VSF, Tobaka Investment Group, Atis Nebest – Angola, Satarem, Gemcorp Capital and CPP.

The nine proposals stipulate execution periods ranging from 16 to 40 months.

José Barroso, Secretary of State for Oil, said that all the proposals, with the exception of SDRC, explain what they’d do to construct a refinery with 100,000 barrels of oil per day capacity. But the SDRC proposal provides details for a refinery with 120,000 barrels per day capacity.

Baroso said the proposals will be analysed between March5 and 6, 2020, and the selected candidate will be announced on March 31, 2020.

Construction of the Soyo refinery is part a three-pronged programme to expand refining capacity in Angola. Just as the Soyo Refinery is being finalized, the government is also working on building a 60,000 barrels per day plant in Cabinda, and doing restoration and modernisation of the Luanda refinery, to quadruple its capacity to 200,000BOPD.

Equatorial Guinea’s Hydrocarbons Minister Visits the Waltersmith Refinery

The 5,000BOPD Facility is on schedule for inauguration in May 2020

The leadership of Waltersmith Petroman carried out a site visit of the Watersmith Modular Refinery, under construction in southeastern Nigeria, with Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea as its guest.

Developed by Waltersmith Petroman Oil in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, the modular refinery (5,000BOPD), embodies efforts of Africa’s oil producing countries, outside industrialized South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, to generate local value by refining their own crude at home.

As a rule, African hydrocarbon producers, with the exception of those three countries listed above, import most of their petroleum products. In 2018, Nigeria’s crude oil output was around 500,000Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) higher than the output of the closest African rival, Angola, and yet 80% of the petroleum products consumed in the country were imported.

The Waltersmith refinery is on schedule for inauguration in May 2020, at a time when its phase 2 will take Final Investment Decision, to boost refining capacity from 5,000BOPD to 30,000BPD.

The refinery is also a path opener for many Nigerian operators of marginal fields, demonstrating how the exploitation of smaller assets such as Waltersmith’s Ibigwe field can generate value from upstream to downstream and help African nations meet their energy security agenda.

“I am truly impressed by the nature and advancement of this project,” declared Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima during his visit of the site. “I share our industry’s belief that it is high time for Africans to start refining and processing our own crude at home to maximize our energy security, create local jobs and add value to our economies. Creating the right public-private partnerships will be of great benefit to all of countries and business leaders. I salute Waltersmith Petroman for the work they do here.”

-Adapted from a press release by African Energy Chamber, which is backed by the Equatorial Guinea Government.

Oil Refinery is Back on the Agenda in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbon reported signing an MoU on the EG Refinery, which will have a capacity of 20,000 to 30,000BOPD“and will see the country become a refiner and producer of petroleum products”.

The agreement took place in the context of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in early January 2020.

The Minister, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, held several bilateral meetings and discussions with heads of national oil companies, including PetroVietnam, ministerial counterparts of the Ministry of Energy of the UAE H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei and the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines of Mauritania, and private stakeholders.

The report didn’t say which of these the Equatorial Guinea delegation signed the MoU for a refinery with.

The idea of a refinery was a No-No for the West African oil producer as recently as 2015, when the country’s oil and gas leaders talked up an Oil Terminal project on Bioko Island. “The terminal will eliminate the need for a local refinery”, Mercedes Eworo Milam, then Director General of Hydrocarbons at the Ministry of Mines, Industry &Energy, told The Oil &Gas Year (TOG). “The problem with a refinery is that it has high operating and maintenance costs and a risk of excess production”. She said that “in -country processing of local crude may also fail to provide sufficient qualities and quantities needed to fulfil the domestic demand for each of the various petroleum products, meaning that imports might still be necessary”.

Jet Fuel, Other Products, Pour Out of Ogbele’s Expanded Refinery

Niger Delta Exploration & Production (NDEP) has commenced production from the new 5,000Barels Per Stream Day Refinery on its Ogbele field, onshore Eastern Nigeria.

“We entered the new year with a flurry of new petroleum products from Ogbele Refinery Train 2. (The new Refinery)”, the company’s management said in a note to its directors.

“All Five (5) streams of Refined Products, including Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) – Jet Fuel are being produced steadily, and currently delivered to their respective storage tanks. These activities had been achieved with the requisite quality for each product”, the note says.

Having attained the required (acceptable) routine quality specifications, as determined by our Internal Laboratory, the company’s management explains, “we have immediately invited SGS – The Global Inspection Company to proceed with obtaining appropriate samples of each of the products, for an Independent analysis and certification of Quality”.

The note adds that “this activity, is expected to subject the quality of all Ogbele refinery Products to International quality checks”.

NDEP had operated a 1,000BSPD topping plant producing Diesel since 2012, but in 2018, it received the regulatory nod to commence construction of the 5,000BSPD Train 2, designed to produce Jet-Fuel, Marine Diesel, High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO), Naphtha and more Diesel. The management note to directors described DPK (Jet Fuel), as “Ogbele Refinery’s pricy and premium product”.

The Ogbele Train 2 Refinery project was meant to come on stream as far back as July 2019. The company is also constructing a third plant, which will take crude oil input capacity to 11,000BOPD, with gasoline (Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as one of the products. “The naphtha  from Trains 1, 2 and 3, will be processed further into PMS in Train 3”, the company says.


‘We’re Creating an Industrial Park’, Isa Tells Visiting Governor

By Maxwell Otumfo, in Owerri

Emeka  Iheadioha became the first host governor and the highest ranking, elected Public Servant to visit the Waltersmith operated Ibigwe field in Imo State last Friday.

“Apart from the Minister of State for Petroleum who did the ground breaking of the refinery, he is the highest public official and the first elected official of his level to visit”, Abdulrazaq Isa, chief executive of Waltersmith, told Africa Oil+Gas Report.

Ihedioha was elected governor of Imo State in March 2019. He took charge of the office at the end of May.

Waltersmith has produced oil from the Ibigwe field for 11 years now and it is one of the largest industrial enterprises in the state, which lies on the eastern flank of the Niger Delta basin.

“We told him we are creating a hub for an Industrial Park and an export free zone”, Isa explained.

Waltersmith is 60% advanced in the construction of a 5,000BSPD crude oil refinery on the Ibigwe field, but that facility is considered, in the company’s planning, as a first phase of an Industrial park which includes a 30,000BSPD crude oil refinery, a power plant and a service hub for manufacturing hydrocarbon related products.

“We have to utilise the hydrocarbon resources we extract from the ground for the good of the country”, Isa says.


10 companies, Carefully Chaperoned, Will End the Niger Delta Crisis

By Akpelu Paul Kelechi, in Ogbele

Layi Fatona, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, says the way to go for Indigenous Nigerian E&P Companies is to become integrated and convert the hydrocarbon resources, from raw molecules, in situ.

He was speaking to the highest ranking personnel in the Nigerian regulatory agency, on site for a Pre-commissioning visit to the 5,000Barrels Per Stream Day refinery on the Ogbele oil field facility in Rivers State, in the east of the country last weekend.

“Ours is a story of marginal field that has fed itself, treated its own gas, processed its own crude”, Fatona told his guests, who included Ahmad Shakur, Acting Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources; Ibidun Toweh, Deputy Director and Head, Engineering &Standards,  Sanya Bajomo, Deputy Director and Head, Gas Monitoring & Regulation, Mohammed Alaku, Deputy Director and Head, Downstream Monitoring & Regulation and Paul Osu, Head of Public Affairs.

“10 companies like this, carefully chaperoned by DPR could solve the problems in the Niger-Delta”, Fatona said. “Ten companies like this that are strategically placed some 20km radius from each other, first to do what we have done, can solve the problems of this country either in terms of youth restlessness or otherwise”

The regulators were visiting Ogbele in the same weekend that Emeka Ihedioha, governor of Imo State, was visiting the Ibigwe oil field facility, operated by Waltersmith Petroman, another Nigerian independent, and located 120kilometres to the east of Ogbele. Like NDPR’s doing in Ogbele, Waltersmith too is constructing a 5,000BSPD refinery on Ibigwe. “We told the governor we are creating a hub for an Industrial Park and an export free zone”, Abdulrazaq Isa, chief executive of Waltersmith, told Africa Oil+Gas Report. The Ibigwe refinery construction, which commenced late 2018, is 60% advanced and it is considered, in the company’s planning, as a first phase of an Industrial park, which will include a power plant, an expanded refinery and site for construction of hydrocarbon related products.

Like Fatona, Isa has severally argued that the model of extracting crude oil and exporting all of it from Nigeria, a country with nearly 200Million people consuming imported petroleum products, is wrongheaded. And the companies with the moral responsibility for leading the charge in beneficiating the raw hydrocarbons are the Nigerian independents, who already operate over a quarter of the country’s total crude oil output.

Back to Ogbele, the 5,000BSPD refinery is the first of a two phase expansion of the 1,000BSPD topping plant commissioned in 2011, which produces 86,000Litres of diesel every day from 540Barrels of Oil. The facility, christened Train 2, will produce Jet-Fuel, Marine Diesel, HFO, Naphtha and more Diesel.

Technical officers from the DPR (different from the big wigs hosted by Fatona) were on site doing the actual pre-commissioning tests with NDPR technicians. “As soon as our men that are on ground here turnedin their reports and we are satisfied with the reports, we will give the go ahead for the plant to become operational”, Shakur told Africa Oil+Gas Report.

Femi Olaniyan, head of the Ogbele refinery project, told the visitors that the 1,000BSPD topping plant had produced about 137Million litres and the company had sold 134Million litres to the public, in the eight years of operation. “We have barely consumed about 3Million litres while the balance has been sold to the public”, Olaniyan explained. “The first turn-around maintenance was done in 2014 just about 2-3 years after the plant became operational and we did not find any surprises, we just cleaned the equipment’s and restored it back online.

“Capacity utilization has been 90% but we have had constraints because it is a mono product refinery so the rejects from the refinery go back into the pipeline. So, when we had the rude boys in the creeks damaging Shell pipelines, we have tank-tops and can’t return the rejects into the pipelines. That affects our up time on the refinery and it is part of the reason why we are doing multi product slates in the expansion.

“It’s a small plant with a small footprint of 1900sqm and we pride ourselves as producing the best diesel in the country. Look at the properties: Flash point ranging 66-72oC, Specific Gravity is 0.86 and it has a clear appearance. People always come back here to buy the diesel. We have this network provider MTN and they always send their suppliers to come and pick up diesel from here to run their masts because it is efficient and reliable and of good quality”.

Mr. Shakur, the DPR director, responded warmly to the NDPR management. “With the regulatory powers residing with us”, he told Fatona, “nothing would prevent us from making you a reference point to other marginal field operators.

“We will replicate your type and just like you said, if we can have ten of your types, the issues of Niger-Delta restiveness would reduce, the money that the government is using for “cost recovery” if I many use NNPC slang, would have gone away and then you can see the backward integration that this could have had in our economy”.


Dangote’s Upstream Asset May Start Production in 2019

The NNPC/WAEP Joint Venture has refurbished parts of the production facility on the Kalaekule field in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 72 in shallow offshore, Central Niger Delta Basin, off Nigeria.

The partners are hoping to achieve some production by the end of 2019.

WAEP is a subsidiary of the Dangote Industries Conglomerate.  It purchased 45% of OMLs 71 and 72 from Shell, TOTAL and ENI for $300Million in March 2015, right in the thick of the crude oil price crash.

The plan had always been to put the Kalaekule field, the only asset in the two acreages with a history of production, back at work. “We have established that some wells can flow and we have done minor refurbishment of the platform”, say ranking officials at the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), the arm of the state hydrocarbon company NNPC which oversees the project with WAEP.

Kalaekule produced crude oil between 1985 and 2002, peaking in 1999 at 22,000BOPD.

The partners have finalised integrity assessment and status evaluation and what remains is to do enough repair works to flow some crude, perhaps 2,000BOPD, to begin with.

“Everything points towards some output by the end of the year”, the NAPIMS sources say.

The news about Dangote Industries have been focused on the massive, 650,000BSPD refinery it is constructing a in Nigeria. Edwin Devakumar, Group Executive Director of Dangote Exploration Assets, an upstream subsidiary of the group, recently said that the conglomerate  aims to pump around 20,000 barrels a day from OMLs 71 and 72, at some point in the near term. He didn’t give a timeline, but he said this much: “Crude oil production is where the majority of our cash flow from the refinery will go to. We’ll focus on that after we start the refinery.”


Stale News: Sonangol Signs Deals to Build New Refinery, Upgrade Old One

By Prospectus Mojido

Angola’s state hydrocarbon company Sonangol reported early this week (June 4, 2019) it has signed two agreements with EPCC companies, first for a new build refinery in the Cabinda enclave, and second for installing a unit in the old refinery in the capital city, Luanda.

They are stale news.

  • The “partners’ agreement” with United Shine to construct a 60,000BOPD in Cabinda, was consummated as far back as February 2019. United Shine, which won the two yearlong competitive tender launched by Sonangol, will fund the project and operate the refinery with 90: 10 equity share with the government company. The main products expected from the plant include diesel, gasoline, fuel oil and Jet A1. United Shine is on course of raising the money for the construction.
  • The contract award to Kinetics Technology (KT), for constructing a unit in the 61 year old Luanda Refinery, to quadruple the volume of gasoline produced, was initially announced in November 2018. In fact, KT is the winner of an international tender held by ENI, the Italian major, through the instrumentality of a Cooperation Agreement signed by Sonangol and ENI in 2018 for the re-launch of Angola’s refining sector.

In compliance with that agreement, Sonangol says, “ENI successfully and safely completed a refinery maintenance campaign which resulted in an increase in its reliability and started a programme currently underway in Italy for the training of 40 Sonangol technicians focused in the management of refineries”.  The next phase of that programme was to award a contract for upgrading the gasoline producing capacity of the Luanda refinery to KT.

The two plants are each relatively small in terms of input; the new refinery will have a capacity to treat 60,000BOPD; the old refinery has 57,000BOPD capacity, which will increase to 84,000BOPD after the upgrade.

Meanwhile, the Angolan government still keeps, in view, the construction of a third refinery; the mush reported Lobito refinery (coastal Benguela Province). As recently as February 2019, Joaquim de Sousa Fernandes, chairman of the Executive Council of Sonaref, the refining arm of Sonangol, said that the Lobito Refinery will be completed in 2025. Angolan Press Agency ANGOP, quoted him as saying that Sonaref was negotiating with a group of companies to set up a joint venture and respective quotas. The forecast is to conclude in the legal aspects before the end of June 2019, then work to redefine the design of the refinery, which will be done by the American company KBL, and “only then will the indicative cost of the project be known”, Angop reported.

“The construction of the Lobito refinery was already underway”, the news agency explained, “but its cost was very high. So it went on a standstill for three years and will now be redefined for a more economical design”.



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