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Cameroon to Upgrade Refinery to Run Its Own Crude

Source: Reuters 12/24/2009, Location: Africa

Cameroon's state-owned oil SONARA oil refinery has signed a 45 billion CFA franc loan deal to raise production capacity from 2.1 to 3.5 million tonnes a year, state radio reported.

The upgrade project will also enable Cameroon's sole refinery to process the heavy crude that Cameroon produces, not just light grades that it imports.

"This is a milestone in the history of this company as it will enable us pursue expansion of our market products in the entire Central African sub-region and even beyond," said SONARA general manager Charles Metouck.

The loan is being provided by Afriland First Bank, which has branches in Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sao Tome and Principe.

SONARA, which has been operational since 1981, has so far only refined light crude oil imported from Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola.

Around half of SONARA's production is sold within Cameroon, with the rest exported to other central African nations, France, the United States and West Africa.

Cameroon has pumped oil since the mid-1970s but it produces heavy crude that it has been unable to refine.

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