Africa's oil refining ambitions fade

Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:01am EST
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* Africa's fuel demand growth is faster than China, India

* Only a third of refinery projects likely to succeed-consultancy

* Essar withdraws from Kenyan refining project

By Emma Farge

DAKAR, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Africa's efforts to supply more of its booming demand for fuel are being dashed by fierce competition from foreign oil refiners and traders flooding the $80 billion market with imports.

African governments want more oil refineries to cut fuel import bills and get better value from the continent's own crude.

But the investors they so badly need are either withdrawing or shifting their focus to trading or storage to take advantage of the region's demand growth of around 5 percent, higher than China and India.

For many distributors, it is cheaper to import fuel from refiners in India or the U.S. Gulf, and even China, than to source from old, often unreliable local plants.

"Our view is that growing African demand will by and large be met by imports," said CITAC's David Bleasdale.   Continued...