Faced with chronic fuel shortages, the Republic of Congo is seeking to refine more oil at home. President Dennis Sassou Nguesso on sunday launched the construction of a new, bigger refinery near the port city of Pointe-Noire.
The 2.5 million tons per year facilty will cost $600m.
Named Atlantic Petrochemical Refinery, this unit will be built on 240 hectares and must officially offer more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.
It aims to diversify and consolidate the industrial fabric of the country which depends essentially on oil, its first source of export.
The project follows an investment agreement concluded in 2020 between the Congolese government and the Beijing fortune Dingheng investment Co Ltd.
The amount of the contract is 600 million dollars, according to a parliamentary source contacted by AFP, but who did not wish to comment on Brazzaville's share of the construction bill.
"The refinery will produce automotive and aviation gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel, lubricants, bitumen, kerosene and other products (...)," Hydrocarbons Minister Jean-Marc Thystère Tchicaya said during a ceremony presided over by Congolese Head of State Denis Sassou Nguesso.
"The new refinery is therefore an important link in the diversification of the economy in the hydrocarbons sector," he added.
"It is a modular refinery with a nominal processing capacity of 2.5 million tons per year. This capacity could be increased if needed," said Li Yonghong, president of the Chinese company.
Congo's first refinery, the Congolaise de raffinage (Coraf), in operation since 1982, has a capacity of 1 million tons per year, but officially it only processes 600,000 tons annually while the country's needs are estimated at 1.2 million tons.
Congo produces 204,735.33 barrels per day of oil (as of 2016) ranking 37th in the world.