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Monday, 28 September 2020

Egyptian Refinery Company’s Mostorod petrochem refinery inaugurated

Egyptian Refinery Company’s Mostorod petrochem refinery is inaugurated: Qalaa Holdings subsidiary Egyptian Refining Company’s (ERC) USD 4.3 bn facility in Mostorod was inaugurated yesterday by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. As the largest private sector project of its kind in Africa, the refinery will produce each year some 2.3 mn tonnes of diesel fuel and 860k tonnes of high octane fuel as well as jet fuel and butane, Qalaa Chairman Ahmed Heikal said at the inauguration (watch, runtime: 11:03). The facility is expected to result in a USD 600 mn-1 bn reduction to Egypt’s annual import bill that had previously been earmarked for petroleum products that ERC is now producing, Heikal said. ERC became fully operational in September 2019 and, by using modern technologies, will help substantially lower Egypt’s carbon and sulfur dioxide emissions.

You really should take a tour of ERC with Heikal — we had that pleasure just as the refinery was nearing completion, and the place is staggering. You can watch a video Heikal produced (runtime: 6:52) with great drone footage in which he explains that the idea is to take “low value products produced by the Cairo Oil Refining Company and turn them into high value distillates that the market currently needs.”

Speaking at the inauguration, El Sisi lauded Qalaa and ERC for the project’s contribution to the economy, stressing the importance of private sector involvement in large-scale projects that spur growth.

El Sisi used the occasion to promise he would extend an emergency stipend for day labourers. The EGP 500 monthly stipend will run through the end of the year, El Sisi said (watch, runtime: 2:46). The government had first said in March it would dish out a one-time EGP 500 payment to seasonal workers as compensation for lost income from the pandemic, before deciding in April to continue disbursing these payments for three months.

Also from the president’s speech yesterday:

  • El Sisi warned of a potential covid-19 second wave, urging citizens to remain vigilant and avoid falling into a false sense of security.
  • He briefly took note of limited demonstrations last week and reiterated his call to citizens not to heed “false claims” (watch, runtime 2:12)
  • The president called on the government to resolve settlements of building code violations, end its six-month construction ban, and announce new building criteria as quickly as possible.

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