Sasol, the world’s largest fuel from coal producer, is reportedly among the foreign companies vying to acquire a majority stake in Zambia’s state-owned Indeni Petroleum Refinery.
India’s Essar Group is said to be a competing bidder.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Indian website livemint.com and Zambian independent newspaper The Post, Esaar wanted to use the refinery, one of the few inland refineries in Africa, to supply petroleum products to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia and even East Angola.
“The Zambian government has to take a decision whether they want to divest the refinery along with the 1 300km Tazama pipeline that brings crude from Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania,” The Post quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Zambia’s government last year became the 100% owner of the Indeni Petroleum Refinery after French Oil giant Total Fina Elf dumped its 50% shareholding.
The Zambian newspaper said that the firm that wins the bid for the refinery would have to invest around $100m for refurbishing and augmenting refining capacity as its current configuration allows separation of only diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.
Zambia’s government is expected to take a decision on the stake sale by March this year.