Saudi Aramco// Picture used for illustrative purposes only
Saudi Arabia is planning to build an oil refinery and petrochemical plant in South Africa as it targets to invest close to $10 billion within the country, according to its energy minister Khalid Al Falih.
The refinery will ease the need for refined product imports while the location and the capacity for the refinery are yet to be decided, officials added. Saudi Aramco and South Africa’s Central Energy Fund will conduct a joint study regarding the proposal.
Saudi Arabia, which is a dominant player in South Africa’s energy sector, was in talks with its earlier president, Jacob Zuma, to build a refinery in the country. However, the project did not proceed as the location provided was unattractive.
The world’s largest oil producer pledged to invest close to $10 billion, mainly into South Africa’s troubled energy sector to help build refineries and petrochemical complexes. The move also comes as its current president Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to attract foreign investments worth $100 billion to the country.
Saudi Arabia’s oil firm Saudi Aramco is also contemplating using South Africa’s oil storage facilities in Saldanha Bay, while Riyadh-based ACWA Power is looking at options to invest in the country’s renewable energy sector.
Falih also confirmed that Saudi is looking to invest in South Africa’s state owned defence company Denel.