Africa is the largest net oil importing region according to a report by the Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) titled, “10th World Oil Outlook.” The report states that this is because the continent imports around 30 percent of the refined products it consumes. In the past, OPEC has noted that African refineries are necessary for downstream capacity additions. This means that the continent can manufacture, sell, and distribute oil and gas through its refineries.
“This situation exists because the continent has limited refining capacity and very low utilization rates. Yet there is a growing demand for oil in the region, prompting the need for more facilities.”
The report singles out the Dangote Lekki refinery in Nigeria as an example. Owned by the Dangote Group, the refineru has the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day, which is key in curbing fuel scarcity in Africa’s largest economy.
There are other African refineries in oil producing countries that could be potentially useful, such as Angola’s Lobito refiner which is designed to produce 200,000 barrels per day of oil once completed in 2019.
Algeria plans to raise its refining capacity by 50 percent through various refineries that are located in the cities of Biskra, Ghardaia, Hassi Messaoud, and Tiaret. These refineries will yield 90,000 barrels of gasoline and diesel per day by 2021.
In Egypt, the Mostorod Refining, which is a private-public partnership between the government-owned Egypt Refining Company and the private sector, will be completed in 2017 and is expected to upgrade its range of refined oil products.
The Egyptian state-owned Middle East Oil Refinery is also expanding its Alexandria refinery capacity for processing oil products to 160,000 barrels per day by 2018. According to the company’s 2015 annual report, the refinery is the most advanced in Africa due to its technological capacity.
The report further notes that the on-going expansion and upgrading of the Sonara-National Refinery Company in Cameroon is expected to increase its capacity to 70, 000 barrels per day.
“The project, due for start-up in 2016, will allow the refinery to process local crude and condensate, rather than imported feedstocks, while also improving overall utilization,” reads the report.
In South Africa, the Mthombo Crude Oil Refinery project is expected to have a capacity of 360,000 barrels per day to meet the country’s demand for refined oil by 2020. Upon its completion, the refinery is expected to process sour crudes, while producing clean oil products that match European standards.