Delayed Suez Refinery Committed to Chinese Contractor

A state contractor in China announced in fall of October that it had been rewarded the chief package on a planned refinery at the Suez port of Ain Sokhna. This project has been on the drawing board of the government of Egypt for over decade but has been impeded by financial and political problems.

The deal is now a part of larger bolstering ties between Cairo and Beijing, mirrored in the financial help offered to the former last year and in a number of deals for China to put in money for major projects in the North Africa nation.

However, the ambitious plan at the Suez port – which Cairo government has long envisioned to transform into a downstream hub – for a privately owned local company to develop the nation’s biggest petrochemicals plant remains to move with slowness of a glacier. Financial close is yet to be completed and the actual construction is not now projected to start until the middle of 2018.

SinoHydro, a subsidiary of PowerChina owned by Beijing, stated in their statement to a local press in China on October 24, the reward of 44 month long contract for designing, procurement, and building of a 155,000 bpd refinery plant at Ain Sokhna, situated on the western shore of the Red Sea, in the north side of the Suez Gulf. The overall valuation of the project of was reported to be around US$2 billion.

The award to SinoHydro came at the time of intense economic and commercial contact between the two nations and overlapped with a 3 day trade fair for the Chinese investors in Cairo.