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Russia's VEB may invest in Moroccan refinery, Congo pipeline projects

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Russia's VEB may invest in Moroccan refinery, Congo pipeline projects

Sochi — Russian state development bank VEB has signed investment cooperation deals with African organizations including on financing a refinery in Morocco, and an oil products pipeline in the Republic of Congo.

The deals were signed during the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit, set up to further Russia's strategy of boosting its trade relationship with African countries. A key part of this strategy includes building on existing energy cooperation on the continent as well as developing new energy cooperation.

Alongside LNG, upstream exploration and cooperation agreements, analysts have highlighted refining and infrastructure projects as key areas for potential new deals.

VEB said that the memorandum on the oil refinery in Morocco was signed with the Russian Export Group and Morocco's MYA Energy, part of the Marita Group. The refinery has a planned capacity of up to 5 million mt/year.

The plant will produce gasoline, diesel of Euro-5 standard, jet fuel, motor fuel of at least Euro-4 standard and bitumen. Morocco currently imports about 90% of its energy resources worth about $10 billion/year.

CONGO PIPELINE

VEB also signed a memorandum of cooperation on construction of an oil products pipeline in the Republic of Congo that will connect the deepwater port of Pointe Noire with the Maloukou terminal and the intermediate terminal in Loutet.

Plans for the pipeline include transportation of a wide range of petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel and aviation kerosene. It will supply customers in the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Construction is expected to take 3 years and capacity is estimated at 2.1 million mt/year with a period of operations of at least 40 years.

The agreement was signed with REC, the African Export-Import Bank, or Afreximbank, and the Societe Nationale des Petroles du Congo.

"The construction of a pipeline in the Republic of the Congo will not only help solve most of the problems of this region of Africa in terms of providing petroleum products, but will also significantly contribute to the growth of the economy of several countries experiencing an acute shortage of quality and affordable energy," Nikita Gusakov, senior vice president of REC said.

"Russian companies have accumulated vast experience and technologies in the construction of oil product pipelines in difficult climatic conditions and are happy to share them with African partners," Gusakov added.

VEB also said that it has joined Afreximbank's trade facilitation program, which the bank said will reduce risks in implementation of trade finance transactions with local African banks.

-- Rosemary Griffin, rosemary.griffin@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Kshitiz Goliya, newsdesk@spglobal.com