/ 5 January 2012

Zambia seeks Angolan fuel products import deal

Zambia plans to start importing refined petroleum products from neighbouring Angola to lower the cost of fuel, an industry official said on Wednesday.

Energy secretary George Zulu said oil-rich Angola was willing to supply Zambia with petroleum, which the land-locked Southern African state had been importing from the Middle East.

Zambia’s new government apologised to Angola in October for backing the losing party in the country’s 27-year civil war as it tried to repair ties with its neighbour.

“A technical team led by the minister of energy will travel to Angola next week to discuss the details of importing finished petroleum products,” Zulu said.

“We have been looking at ways of bringing down the cost of fuel and so far it seems the answer lies in importing our fuel from neighbouring Angola,” he said.

The technical team travelling to Angola would also explore the possibility of jointly putting up a pipeline from Angola to Zambia, he said.

“We will start with lifting finished products and then move on to crude oil, which we plan to process in Zambia,” he said.

Zambia relies on semi-refined oil imports from the Middle East but has been studying plans to import crude oil from Angola and set up a new oil refinery locally.

The construction of a railway line linking the two countries to facilitate the smooth flow of fuel would also be tabled, Zulu said.

Angola has one refinery — in Luanda — operated by Sonangol, the state-owned oil company and regulator, but its capacity is limited at present to around 40 000 barrels of oil per day so it is unclear if it could start exporting refined products to Zambia anytime soon.

Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer after Nigeria and a major supplier of crude to the United States. — Reuters