South Sudan’s Bentiu Refinery could export refined petroleum products to the East African region by August of this year, according to the refinery’s owner SNP Group, a joint venture between South Sudan’s Nile Petroleum Corporation and Russia’s Safinat. Located in Unity State, the refinery has faced several challenges in becoming operational, including flooding, COVID-19 and technical failures. However, the refinery’s output has since come online – pumping anywhere from 3,000-10,000 barrels per day and exporting products to neighboring Sudan – with the Group currently looking to expand regional distribution.
“[The refinery] is operational and in good shape. We have been providing products to Sudan. With the current situation in our neighboring country, we are looking to the East African region. We have already been contacted by a number of companies in the region, as well as the Congo,” said David Galla, Vice President of SNP Group at South Sudan Oil & Power on Friday, currently taking place in Juba. “By August or September, the product will be ready to be shipped across the region.”
This milestone would be significant for South Sudan, who despite having the third-largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, has suffered from limited refining capacity to date and imports the majority of its local refined oil demand. The viability of these plans is supported by the high quality of production from the refinery, of which “70% has close to zero sulfur content. This is very rare,” noted Galla.
SNP Group is also seeking to build an internal market for its low-sulfur, heavy fuel oil, which could be used to generate power, stimulate industry and reduce local costs of power consumption.