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In the midst of a profound transformation, developments in Angola’s downstream sector are poised to position this Southern African country as one of the region’s leading exporters of petroleum products.
Thanks to a state-led agenda to expand refining, storage and distribution capacity, and with plans to increase its refining capacity to 425,000 barrels per day (bpd), the Angolan economy is poised to become a more investment space. profitable and competitive through the renewal, modernization and liberalization of its downstream sector .
During the second day of the Angola Oil & Gas 2022 event, the “Focus on Downstream ” discussion panel took place , with speakers such as António Feijó, Deputy General Director, IRDP; Eusébio Vunge, Director, UNDC Sonangol EP; Anders Østergaard, CEO of Grupo Monjasa; Ivanilson Machado, CEO, Pumangol; Tarik Berair, Business Development Executive & Sales Director, Africa, Technip Energies; Mauro Carvalho, Managing Partner & Founder, Famar; and Luís Coelho, Executive Director, Zambezi Refined Petroleum Multi Product and Natural Gas Pipelines Ltd. Moderated by Hasnayn Ebrahim, Managing Director of Africa International Advisors (AIA), the session opened with a speech given by Anibor Kragha, Executive Secretary of African Refiners & Distribution Association, in which he spoke about the importance of the downstream sector in improving the supply and reliability of cleaner fuels for Africa.
“We must champion investments across downstream Africa , and we are promoting African energy security,” Kragha said, adding: “We must ensure that downstream players get adequate financing so they can deliver cleaner fuels and add value and introduce investment on the continent, in order to create greater energy security.”
Subsequently, the discussion began with Coelho stating that “investments in the downstream sector will create dynamism and achieve a balance within the industry and, thus, generate profitability.”
Representing the largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa and boasting notable upstream developments , Angola’s downstream market is currently undergoing full transformation, caused mainly by the prolific development of the country’s refining capacity. Plans to increase its refining capacity to 360,000 bpd were fulfilled by the recent completion of an additional gasoline production unit at the existing Luanda Refinery, and will include the construction of several new refineries in Cabinda, Lobito and Soyo.
“Today, we only depend on around 69% of imported refined petroleum products, as our Luanda Refinery is already supplying around 61% of our needs,” said Vunge, adding: “The expected increase represents a huge opportunity for our company and our country, so that we can expand our presence in the region.”
Meanwhile, regarding the importance of improving Angola’s refining capabilities, Berair stated: “We definitely need to bring flexibility to the design of downstream refineries , partly due to the changing nature of demand, but also due to the environmental constraints we have.”
To vehemently pursue the progressive liberalization of the downstream sector, through the establishment of a legal regime that governs the activities of import, reception, supply, storage, transport, distribution, commercialization and export of petroleum products, it is expected that the market will see increase competition and efficiency, resulting in better domestic access to fuels at a lower price.
“The liberalization of the downstream market in Angola is the way forward and will attract more foreign investment”, declared Østergaard, who then added: “The demand is there: the demand for Angolan crude oil, but also for products refined Angolan products. We are proud to work with Sonangol and the Government and we have realized, over the last decade, that liberalization is happening. An ideal liberalized market is a free market, which allows the entry of foreign investments to build storage, the expansion of service station networks, from a fuel supply perspective.”
“The issue of liberalization has been discussed for a long time”, added Machado, indicating: “We all know that the market and investors have made agreements with the Government and that the liberalization of the downstream market will continue to provide jobs and bring developments to Angola .”
At the same time, in addition to increasing its refining, storage and distribution capabilities, the Angolan Government has sought to lead development in energy storage and distribution through the expansion of supply stations across the country.
” Downstream and derivatives supply capacity must be aligned with population growth. Taking this into account, our sector has already taken many steps in this direction. That is why we have projects to increase refining capacity and also projects to improve storage capacity, and all of this will make it possible to satisfy the demand for petroleum derivatives”, said Feijó.
Following the acceleration of these downstream developments , Angola is poised to be well positioned to export and distribute refined petroleum products and associated petrochemicals to neighboring countries such as the Republic of Congo, Zambia, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“With regard to storage and distribution capacity, we need to take into account some crucial aspects to optimize our products. In order to achieve these objectives, the commercialization and distribution of storage will have to carry out a reduction in associated costs and carry out a mobilization of the distribution of refined products, at regional and continental level”, concluded Carvalho.