New re­fin­ery prom­ises re­lief to Egypt fuel cri­sis

Daily Trust - - REUTERS -

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.

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