Essar mulls stake purchase in Zambian refinery

petrochemicals_-essar_mombassaINDIA'S ESSAR GROUP plans to acquire a majority stake in Zambia's state-owned Indeni Refinery, which has a capacity to refine around 1mn tonnes per annum (mtpa) of crude.
South Africa's Sasol Ltd is among the companies vying for the same stake.


Essar plans to enter the fuel retailing business in Zambia and supply petroleum products to countries in the vicinity by acquiring the refinery, located in Ndola, 420km north of the capital Lusaka. Total SA of France had a 50 per cent stake in the refinery which was recently acquired by the Zambian government.
Essar plans to use the refinery, one of the few inland refineries in Africa, to supply petroleum products to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia and even East Angola. Currently, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced at the refinery goes to Kenya by road.
Essar plans to take petroleum products instead of LPG to Mpulungu harbour in north Zambia, which is located on Lake Tanganyika, and then supply it to countries such as Libya, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and some East African countries by ship as the lake connects all these countries.
Essar Group already has a presence in Africa's refining sector with its Mombasa refinery acquisition in Kenya.

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