New Ghana Refinery Will Make Base Oils


Sentuo Group is scheduled to begin commissioning its new refinery in Tema, Ghana, next month, bringing sub-Saharan Africa a step closer to again having a base oil source.

The Chinese company is building what is designed to be the largest oil refinery in Ghana – ultimately processing 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day to produce nearly 5 million metric tons per year of refined products. The commissioning beginning next month is for the first phase of operations, which will have a bit less than half of that capacity and which will focus on fuels production.

Among the units included in the second phase is a base oil plant. The company has not disclosed the size of that plant but has said the plant will ultimately produce 200,000 t/y of base oils and solvent naphtha. The company has likewise not stated the API category of base oil to be made.

The second phase of operations are scheduled to begin in 2025.

Ghana currently has one oil refinery, the Tema Oil Refinery, which has crude oil throughput capacity of 45,000 b/d.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been without a base oil plant since the Sapref joint venture between BP and Shell in Durban, South Africa, was shut down in March 2022 for financial reasons. A month later it was heavily damaged by flooding, and the partners decided earlier this year not to make repairs, though they might sell the facility.

Another Durban refinery and base oil plant, owned by Engen, closed in December 2020 after a fire and is being converted to a terminal. A Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. refinery in Kaduna, Nigeria, operated sporadically in the early 2000s before closing permanently.

North Africa has seven base oil plants – five in Egypt and one each in Libya and Algeria.

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