Mystery over refinery construction deal The initial plan was to construct the refinery at Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam, in the same region as the old refinery shown here, but the location was changed to Bagamoyo and then to Mkuranga district. Photo/LEONARD MAGOMBA By JOINT REPORT THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Monday, December 14 2009 at 00:00 Mystery surrounds the status of a firm granted a contract to construct $3.5 billion refinery plant on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam in 2005. At that time of signing the deal described by then planning minister Dr Juma Ngasongwa as the largest single investment to take place in our country since independence Noor Oil and Industrial Technology was reported to be registered in Qatar. It has since emerged that it was registered in the United States in 2006. Noor Oil is currently incorporated under the laws of the State of California. According to the companys website, it leads a consortium whose members are Noor Oil & Industrial Technology Inc, OAO Stroytransgaz, 000 Prometey/ Sakneftegazstroy, Roneg AG, and Russia Union of Oil. This newspaper has also been informed that Noor Oil has been given two parcels of land at Kisiju in Mkuranga district of Coast Region to build a refinery plant with a capacity to process 10,000,000 tonnes of crude oil per annum. The company also intends to build an oil pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kigoma. The initial plan for the government was to construct the refinery at Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam but the location was later changed to Bagamoyo and subsequently to Mkuranga district. Noor Oil has also been provided with a certificate of incentives from the Tanzania Investment Centre for the huge project. But, according to the documents, the company has not started any construction work three years after being granted the TIC incentives and the two parcels of land, nor has it conducted a feasibility study for the commencement of the work. No financial commitment Despite the documents showing that Noor Oil was to construct a flexicoking processing plant under licence from Exxon Mobil of the US, the firm has so far not put any financial commitments into the project. The EastAfrican has been informed by a source in the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals that, not only has it not made a start on the project, but the company is also said to be interested in bidding for the newly developed bulk oil procurement scheme to supply the Tanzanian market with refined products from other refineries to which Noor Oil is affiliated. However, Minoo Davar chief executive of Noor Oil and Industrial Technology said that the firm will soon employ a contractor to conduct a geological engineering survey required for feasibility study in respect of the projected facilities. Mrs Davar said the plant will be fed by Arabic crude oil-light, with sulphur content of 0.5 to 0.6 by weight. The plant will also produce construction and road bitumen and fuel oil of less than one per cent sulphur content. In August 2007, a burglary at a law firm in Dar es Salaam led to the disappearance of confidential files and documents regarding the much-hyped $3.5 billion project. Minister for Energy and Minerals William Ngeleja told The EastAfrican that the government will go ahead with the refinery project whatever happens, to cater for the countrys needs and possibly for export.