Angola greenlights US consortium to build, own new refinery at Soyo

April 5, 2021

Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum (MIREMPET) has awarded the country’s previously announced tender for construction of a 100,000-b/d grassroots refinery in Soyo, Zaire Province, to US-based Quanten Consortium Angola LLC (OGJ Online, Nov. 16, 2020).

As the winning consortium of eight groups of competitors vying for the project, Quanten will design, build, own, and operate the proposed deep-conversion refinery at Soyo, which will play a critical role in Angolan President João Lourenço’s program of strengthening the African nation’s economy by helping reduce the country’s current reliance on expensive refined product imports, according to separate releases from MIREMPET and Angolan Ambassador to the US Joaquim do Espírito Santo.

Alongside construction of the refinery—which will have flexibility to process a variety of crudes for production of consumer-ready end products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and asphalt—Quanten separately said it also will:

  • Design, build, own, and operate a tank farm and marine terminal for feedstock (including crude oil) delivered to and products exported from the refinery.
  • Design, build, own, and operate all associated infrastructure, including an electric power generation plant, potable water plant, wastewater treatment plant, as well as all access roads and surrounding environmental developments at the site.
  • Establish robust local content and economic development initiatives for Soyo City and Zaire Province.

The refinery currently is slated for startup in 2024.

The US-based Quanten Consortium Angola includes Quanten LLC and Cisco Systems Inc., both of San Jose, Calif., as well as TGT Inc., KBR Inc., American Exploration Co. Inc., all of Houston.

Additional refining projects

The planned Soyo refinery is one of several already announced developments under President Lourenço’s national plan to increase domestic crude processing capacity to help considerably reduce the country’s dependence on expensive imports of refined products, encourage increased foreign investment, and create employment opportunities for Angolans.

On Feb. 18, the Angolan Parliament voted unanimously to pass legislation authorizing a series of tax and customs incentives to advance construction of greenfield refinery on the Malembo plain, 30 km north of Cabinda, in the country’s province of Cabinda, MIREMPET said in a Feb. 22 release.

Approval of the incentive package follows the late-2020 final investment decision (FID) by state-owned Sonangol EP (10%) and partner Gemcorp Capital LLP (90%)—a London-based investment management firm—to proceed with the proposed three-phased project, the first $220-million tranche of which will include construction of a 30,000-b/d crude distillation unit, desalinator, kerosine treating unit, and auxiliary infrastructure, as well as a conventional float anchoring system, pipelines, and a more than 1.2-million bbl storage terminal.

At an additional estimated cost of $700 million also covered by the FID, Phases 2 and 3 will add another 30,000 b/d of crude processing capacity, as well as units for catalytic reforming, hydrotreating, and catalytic cracking that will transform the site into a full-conversion refinery.

Still on schedule for startup in first-quarter 2022, Phase 1 of the Cabinda refinery will be followed by commissioning of Phases 2 and 3 in second-quarter 2023 and second-quarter 2024, respectively.

Alongside the grassroots Cabinda refinery, Angola also is continuing construction on a new unit at Sonangol’s existing 65,000-b/d Luanda refinery, the country’s only (OGJ Online, June 6, 2019). Scheduled for completion in 2022 at a cost of $235 million, the new unidentified unit will increase the refinery’s gasoline production to 450,000 tonnes/year from its current 72,000-b/d output rate, saving Angola about $200 million in expenditures on fuel imports, according to MIREMPET.

Sonangol also is advancing on its long-planned project to build a new refinery in Lobito, Benguela Province (OGJ Online, Dec. 3, 2013). Temporarily suspended in 2016, the project remains under reassessment based on new technical and financial assumptions following completion of an updated economic and financial feasibility study in 2020. Following the revised feasibility study—which considered the possibility of building the Lobito refinery in a single phase or in two phases, with a first-phase capacity of 100,000 b/d and a second-phase capacity of another 100,000-b/d, as well as inclusion of petrochemical production—Sonangol said it has selected its preferred configuration for the future refinery and will soon update FEED for the project, on which JGC Corp. of Japan plans to deliver EPC.