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Cameroon : Swiss Trader Vitol to Backsup Sonara Reconstruction

SONARA fire outbreak _ May 31st 2019

The Swiss trader Vitol SA is interested in the reconstruction of the National Refining Company (Sonara) of Cameroon, ravaged by fire on May 31, 2019.

Investir au Cameroun reports that on September 22nd , Pierre Bardet , African Director of the Multinational affirmed his stand during the signing ceremony of the restructuring agreement and repayment of debt (185 billion CFA francs).

I conclude by expressing the wish that you will be able to rebuild this refinery very quickly and in the best technical and financial conditions, especially in these times of uncertainty and even concern about global energy balances. You can be sure of the support of the Vitol Group, which is at your disposal to study any contribution to the reconstruction process,” declared Pierre Bardet.

The rehabilitation of Sonara had been scheduled for this year, according to statements made on 26 November 2021 by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute, during the presentation to parliament of the government’s economic, financial, social and cultural programme for 2022. The head of government did not say much about the financing of this project, whose cost is estimated at about 250 billion CFA francs by the Ministry of Water and Energy.

The rehabilitation of Sonara, which had to start on 23 September 2022, has not yet begun. The steering committee in charge of the restructuring/rehabilitation of Sonara launched its work on 15 September. However, the identity of the companies selected to carry out the work has not yet been revealed.

On 14 May 2022 during a meeting in Yaounde with MINFI Boss, Sonara’s  General Manager Jean Paul Njonou, stated  ” it was a question of laying the foundations for the implementation of the instructions of the President of the Republic, relating to the rehabilitation/restructuring of Cameroon’s only refinery, which has been closed since the fire that ravaged its installations in May 2019. The work to be carried out “as soon as possible” will consist not only in the reconstruction of the destroyed units, but also in the installation of a hydrocracker that will allow the refining of heavy fuel oil from Cameroon and possibly from some neighbouring countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)”.

The fire of 31 May 2019 totally damaged four of the 13 Sonara production units and partially blew away three of them. According to Jean Paul Njonou, the CEO of the country’s only refinery, the fire consumed more than 10,000 m3 (10 million litres) of crude oil.

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