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Zambia shuts oil refinery for six days

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Zambia on Saturday shut down its sole 24,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery after the plant ran out of storage space for fuel amid lower demand in the wake of reduced mining activities, state radio reported.

Zambia is Africa’s top copper producer and uses a lot of diesel produced at the Indeni refinery in mining, the backbone of its economy.

Lubinda Imasiku, the deputy minister for energy, said on ZNBC radio the refinery would remain shut for six days due to depressed demand for fuel arising from reduced open cast mining activities during the rainy season.

“The closure is necessary because the refinery cannot continue operating without adequate storage space as this results in re-circulation of processed products,” Imasiku said.

He said the shutdown would not result in fuel shortages because Indeni had adequate stocks of refined products.

Zambia consumes about 2 million litres of diesel per day and 700,000 litres of petrol daily.

Imasiku said Indeni had 54 million litres of diesel and 13 million litres of petrol.

Indeni Petroleum Refinery was previously 50 percent jointly owned each by Total El Fina EIF and the Zambian government.

The government in November last year raised its shareholding in Indeni to 100 percent after concluding talks with Total.

Source: Reuters

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