Equatorial Guinea deepens Chinese ties

Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest crude-oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, is seeking to deepen ties with Chinese energy companies as the country works to improve power infrastructure and increase output of crude and natural gas.

Equatorial Guinea has approached China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec Group, about building a 20,000-barrel-a day refining and petrochemical complex in the country, which later could be expanded to 60,000 barrels a day, Gabriel M. Obiang Lima, the country’s minister of mines, industry and energy.

“We are planning to build a refinery, but will only use a small amount (of crude) coming from our own production,” he said. “We are having discussions with Sinopec regarding that…we were expecting to sign something today, but the time has gone too fast.”
Although Equatorial Guinea has approached other engineering companies based in the U.S., Spain, Italy and Germany about developing the refinery, state-owned Sinopec would be the only company that would take an ownership stake in the project if chosen, Mr. Obiang said, adding that a final decision could be made by year-end. Sinopec couldn’t immediately be reached for comment after work hours.

The West African country has approached Sinohydro Group Ltd., which built most of China’s Three Gorges Dam, about building more hydroelectric power plants with an eye toward selling electricity to neighboring countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon, Mr. Obiang said. Sinohydro’s first 125-megawatt hydropower project in Equatorial Guinea is expected to come online in October, he added.

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