China’s Sinopec buys its first major refinery, other oil assets in Africa

Asia’s largest oil refiner, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) purchases its first major oil refinery in Africa as it takes a 75% stake in Chevron Corporation’s South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana in a US$1 billion deal.

According to Sinopec, the assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities.

Chevron Global Energy Inc., a subsidiary of the American multinational energy company, said in a statement that Sinopec’s bid was selected in part because of the better terms and conditions it offered, including a commitment to operate the businesses as going concerns and the opportunity to reap strategic value for its longer-term strategy in Africa.

The deal, which includes 220 convenience stores across South Africa and Botswana, is subject to regulatory approval.

With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5% annually over the past five years, to a current total of about 27 million tons, Sinopec said.

Sinopec in 2012 partnered South Africa’s national oil company PetroSA to help develop a new greenfield refinery that has subsequently been shelved due to high costs. It said it would retain the whole workforce as well as the existing Caltex brand for the retail fuel stations for up to six years before launching a rebranding strategy.

The remaining 25% of the South African assets will continue to be held by a group of local shareholders, in accordance with South African regulations.

It was recently reported that Sinopec was the last remaining bidder in the auction which lasted more than a year and drew interest from French oil firm Total and commodity traders Glencore and Gunvor.

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