South Sudan to get first ever oil refinery in July
JUBA (Feb 2, 2013) – South Sudan is set to get its first ever oil refinery in July, one of two facilities expected to be commissioned this year, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining announced on Saturday.
This came during a briefing Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau and senior executives from his ministry held for top officials of the ruling SPLM General Secretariat to enlighten them about the status of the country’s oil industry.
The briefing was in line with the SPLM’s obligations as a ruling party to follow up on the performance of its cadres in the executive and to ensure that they are executing party policies and delivering on promises made to the people.
“We have now two refineries in progress, but we will have more,” the Minister stated.
Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau
Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau addressing top officials of the ruling SPLM General Secretariat in Juba [Photo: Lim Donato]
The first refinery will be built in Bentiu, Unity State, with the capacity of some 5,000 bpd, according to Daniel Chuang, the Ministry’s Director for Refineries, who is overseeing the project.
Chuang explained that work on the Bentiu Refinery has reached advance stages, adding he expected the facility to be “ready by July.”
Building the modules has been ongoing in Russia and as Chuang pointed out, shipping the modules to the site will commence soon.
The Bentiu Refinery, primarily funded by the Safinat Group, shall mostly process Light Nile Blend crude oil from fields in Unity State.
Chauang also declared that work on a second facility, the Thiangrial Refinery in Upper Nile was progressing according to plan and would be completed before the end of the year.
The site, he said, was cleared last July and surveys on the area have been completed.
This month, the most difficult part of the project, hauling all the material needed for construction to the site, shall get underway, and officials predict this to be finished within 30 days.
Building modules for the plant, which will largely refine the Dar Blend variety of crude oil, has also been ongoing in Huston Texas.
Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau and officials of the ruling SPLM General Secretariat during a briefing in Juba about the status of the country’s oil industry. [Photo: Lim Donato]
Chuang said the Thiangrial Refinery would initially have a capacity of 10,000 bpd that shall be gradually doubled to 10,000 bpd – more than enough to meet the entire daily fuel demands of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the SPLM General Secretariat, Cde Antipas Nyok expressed gratitude to the Minister and his team for the elaborate explanations and congratulated them for the progress they have made so far.
South Sudan was forced to shut down its oil production in January last year after Sudan imposed exorbitant transit fees and tariffs and in protest of continued theft by Sudanese authorities of its oil.
A deal to restart production has yet to see the light, but South Sudanese officials are also looking at other options, including building an alternative pipeline to that running through Sudan to export its crude oil.
Construction of the two refineries is widely expected to ease the burden on fuel imports from neighboring countries and end the intermittent supply in the market, something that has had a negative impact on the economy.