New refinery promises relief to Egypt fuel crisis
Construction of Egypt’s largest oil refinery, with capacity to produce half the volume of diesel currently being imported, is expected to begin next week, the project leader said.
The Egyptian Refinery Company (ERC) plant, 20 kilometres north of Cairo, will use fuel oil produced by an old refinery nearby as feedstock to produce 2.3 million tonnes of diesel per year.
It should cut Egypt’s reliance on imports of crude oil and petroleum products which have become a severe drain on the government’s scarce foreign currency reserves.
“It’s been a long and arduous battle but we’re finally getting there,” Tom Thomason, chief executive of ERC, said in a phone interview this week. “Cairo is a very big market for diesel ... Our project will avoid importing and shipping costs as we’re right here,” Thomason said. ERC hopes to bring the refinery onstream by early 2017, he said.
The refinery was proposed in 2006 but efforts to secure financing were frustrated by the financial crisis of 2008-09 and then by the Egyptian uprising of 2011 that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
“The world kind of stopped for us at these points but we got over it and then finally reached financial close in June 2012,” Thomason said.
ERC has secured funding through a $2.6 billion debt package and $1.1 billion in equity provided by the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Qatar Petroleum International and Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital, among others. Toyota Motor Corp, in its secondlargest recall announcement, said yesterday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally after uncovering five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.
The world’s biggest automaker said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact.
Toyota said faults were also found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries.
The automaker did not say now much the recalls would cost, and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota’s suppliers or its manufacturing process.
The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share information with regulators and the public.
Toyota agreed last month to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. government for withholding information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis had caused Toyota to recall more than 9 million vehicles. In a high-profile case that has the potential to change U.S. safety regulation, Toyota rival General Motors is under investigation for failing to act on a known ignition switch defect linked to a dozen deaths.