Saturday, September 19, 2020

Francistown becomes home to Botswana’s first Petroleum refinery project

Chongoene Corridor Refinery (Pty) Limited (CCRL), a Botswana registered Company, is proceeding with plans for a multibillion-dollar investment in a petroleum refinery and tank farm in the Republic of Botswana. The project, which will be located in the Northern part of the Botswana, in Francistown, include an estimated 1,182km crude oil and natural gas pipelines that will originate from the Republic of Mozambique. The 150,000-bpd refinery and the advent of natural gas feedstock supplies, will have major positive and transformational impact on the economy of Botswana, as well as other SADC member states including Zimbabwe, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Africa. 

The proposed refinery to be developed by CCRL has a strategic link to the Chongoene Development Corridor Project (CDC), which is a private sector driven US$7.4 billion transportation infrastructure project in Mozambique. It involves the phased construction of a 150Mtpa Deepwater Seaport, capable of docking vessels of over 200,000 Dwt, on the coastline of Gaza Province in Mozambique. It also includes investments in a Cape Gauge rail line designed to heavy haul standards, which will link the proposed new port, with the existing national rail line as well as other regional rail networks via Zimbabwe. The CDC project objective is to provide world-class transportation infrastructure backbone, as a basis to attract major private sector investments that will transform the  resource rich Limpopo River Valley, which cuts across, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, from a rural agricultural region, into an internationally competitive industrial and service industry powerhouse, based on its huge agribusiness, fisheries, human, industrial, mining, tourism  and water resources and potentials.  

The CDC is conceptualized and is being promoted by Moçambique STT S.A (STT), a private Company, which obtained an exclusive mandate from the Government of Mozambique in 2012, for implementation of the Project, without recourse whatsoever, to Government funding or sovereign guarantee. In a statement provided to investors, “STT hired the services of a consortium of most reputable international firms led by Mott MacDonald PDNA, and including Niras A/S of Denmark and Johnstaff of Australia, and has since 2014, concluded FEL-1 studies, which have been presented to, and approved by Government. STT has gone further and secured an equally reputable EPC Contractor and is currently proceeding with Bankable Feasibility and Detailed Engineering Studies for Project implementation”.  

The Chairwoman of the Board of STT Madam Olívia Thema Moisés Machel notes that “the CDC was a major dream of my late father – Samora Moisés Machel. It was his vision to gift our landlocked sister countries a piece of Mozambique’s coastline, for them to collectively build, own and operate their own port. It was also his vision that the SADC region must be well connected with the best transportation infrastructure and cheap energy, to trigger an agricultural and industrial revolution and assure prosperity for its peoples. I am only trying to carry that vision forward in a different and an inclusive manner that will involve the participation of, and also benefits to all Mozambicans, Governments and peoples of the region”.

The CCRL project will produce fuel and lubricants from imported crude, for distribution and marketing in the Region and will also include tank farms for storage and strategic reserves.  CCRL, has accordingly signed an agreement with STT, as one of the anchor Clients for the proposed Chongoene Port. 

CCRL is also negotiating with another Mozambican Company, African Renaissance Pipeline Limitada (ARPL), for the extension of their planned natural gas pipeline, and the supply of natural gas feedstock to Francistown. This will position Francistown as a major energy hub, and CCRL as a major energy solutions provider in the heart of SADC. Based on recent huge gas discoveries, ARPL is promoting the 2,600km, 42-inch, African Renaissance Pipeline Project, designed to transport natural gas feedstock from Mozambique’s Rovuma and other Basins, to major provinces in the country, and to Gauteng in South Africa.

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