Saudi Arabia in talks to build refinery, petrochemicals plant in South Africa

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih speaks during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 9, 2019. (File Photo/Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2019

Saudi Arabia in talks to build refinery, petrochemicals plant in South Africa

  • Saudi Arabia is in talks to build an oil refinery and a petrochemicals plant in South Africa as part of $10 billion of investments in the country
  • Saudi oil would be used in the planned refinery whose construction would be led by Saudi Aramco

PRETORIA: Saudi Arabia plans to build an oil refinery and petrochemicals plant in South Africa as part of $10 billion of investments in the country, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Friday after talks with his South African counterpart.
The announcement is a much-needed vote of confidence in Africa’s most industrialized economy, where President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to attract $100 billion of new investments to rekindle growth.
The new refinery would reduce the need for refined product imports and cement Saudi Arabia’s dominant position in South Africa’s oil sector. The Kingdom already supplies 40 percent of the crude oil consumed in South Africa.
“Saudi Aramco and South Africa’s Central Energy Fund are moving forward with the feasibility study and identifying the parameters of the project,” Falih told reporters in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital.
South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said a location for the refinery and petrochemicals plant would be finalized in the coming weeks. The capacity for the refinery is yet to be determined.
South Africa has talked about building an extra refinery for a decade, but it has struggled to agree commercial terms with investors.
It has six refineries, four using crude oil and two synthetic fuel as feedstock. Royal Dutch Shell, BP , Total and Sasol are among major refinery operators.
Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia had held discussions with Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, about building a refinery in South Africa but the proposed location was not attractive.
The two governments are now considering Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal province, home to South Africa’s major coal export terminal, among potential locations for the refinery.
State oil giant Saudi Aramco is also studying whether to use South African oil storage facilities in Saldanha Bay, while Saudi power firm Acwa Power is looking at investing in South Africa’s revamped renewable energy program.
Al-Falih confirmed there were discussions about the kingdom investing in South African state defense company Denel, as exclusively reported by Reuters in November.


Alvarez & Marsal named administrators of UAE’s NMC Healthcare

Updated 28 September 2020

Alvarez & Marsal named administrators of UAE’s NMC Healthcare

DUBAI: Restructuring consultancy Alvarez & Marsal said on Sunday it had been appointed as administrator of a group of operating businesses related to NMC Healthcare by the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts.

Richard Fleming and Ben Cairns of Alvarez & Marsal have been appointed as joint administrators, the firm said in an emailed statement, adding the administration process would address the “high levels of debt in the businesses.”

NMC Healthcare’s London-listed holding company NMC Health Plc is already being run by Alvarez & Marsal after going into administration in April following months of turmoil over its finances.

The turnaround specialist said on Sunday the appointment related directly to 36 operating businesses in the United Arab Emirates, but did not apply to businesses outside the country.

The appointment “will also allow the group of entities to secure an additional $325 million financing facility whilst protecting the businesses from creditor action,” Alvarez & Marsal said.

The administrators would lead the financial restructuring of those businesses while the existing NMC management team remained in operational control of the day-to-day running of medical and clinical activities, it said.

NMC Health is the largest private health care provider in the UAE, operating more than 200 facilities including hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

Its implosion this year amid allegations of fraud and the disclosure of more than $4 billion in hidden debt has left some UAE and overseas lenders with heavy losses and prompted legal battles to try and recover money owed.