ANGOLA – Sonangol, Angola’s state-run oil company and Gemcorp (a trade and investment group in emerging markets) have made a final investment decision  to build a refinery in the northern enclave of Cabinda that will reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

The two companies will spend $220 million in the first phase of construction, which began in March, and includes installing half of the plant’s processing capacity of 60,000 barrels a day.

The second and third phases will turn the plant into a “total conversion” refinery, according to a statement released last week.

Gemcorp will contribute 90% of the investment while Sonangol will contribute 10%.

“The construction of this refinery will provide an increase in the processing capacity of crude oil and a considerable reduction in the country’s dependence on imports of refined products,” Sonangol Chairman Sebastiao Gaspar Martins said in the statement.

The refinery should start operations in the first quarter of 2022.

According to the statement, the refinery, which will be built in the Malembo plain, 30 kilometres north of the capital of Cabinda, will be the first private investment of its kind in Angola, using the latest US technology for its design, operation and development in three phases, with adherence to the principles of Ecuador.

The first phase of the project is expected to include 30,000 barrels per day of the crude, with a desalter, paraffin treatment and auxiliary infrastructure, including a conventional buoy anchoring system, pipelines, and storage facility for over 1.2 million barrels.

The 2nd and 3rd phases, the note said, will turn the Cabinda refinery into a total conversion refinery, with an additional refining capacity of 30,000 barrels per day and the installation of a new catalytic reformer, hydro-treater and catalytic cracking unit, totalling expenses of around US$700 million.

Formal construction of the project began in March 2020, with the cleaning and total preparation of the land, work on which was completed in August this year.

The project aims to create approximately 2,000 direct and indirect jobs for the community, sustaining and supporting local and national economies.

These opportunities cover the areas of construction, engineering, logistics, security and administration.

Once operational, according to the document, the refinery will also contribute to Angola’s sovereign security, reducing its dependence on imports of refined products as well as increasing its exports with higher margins.

“This final investment decision represents one of the Angolan government’s main strategic objectives. The construction of this refinery will provide an increase in national crude oil processing capacity and a considerable reduction in the country’s dependence on imports of refined products, as provided in the National Development Plan,” said Sebastião Gaspar Martins, chairman of Sonangol’s board of directors cited in the note.

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