Egypt's Midor Refinery Operating at 70 percent
The new 100,000 barrels per day Middle East Oil Refinery (Midor) complex is operating at around 70 percent of its capacity as the company works to overcome teething startup problems, Midor sources told Reuters on Thursday.
The highly sophisticated refinery, which includes numerous secondary units such as catalytic reformer, delayed coker, hydrocracker and naphtha splitter, started production in April and is expected to be formally commissioned later in the year.
"It's the very beginning, the refinery is going through some tests and trials in the startup. There's no particular problem to tell, it's operating at about 70 percent," a source said.
Earlier in June, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) reportedly bought out the shares of the Israeli Merhav Company in the Midor for 600 million pounds ($155 million).
NBE chairman Ahmed Diaeddine said then that the shares were purchased in three installments through the Cairo Stock Exchange.
The purchase of Merhav's shares made the bank Midor's largest shareholder - at 38 percent - after the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., which owns 60 percent of Midor's shares through two affiliates.
On May 30, Yossi Maiman denied Associated Press reports from Egypt that his Merhav, the biggest Israeli investor in Egypt, had sold its 14-percent stake in the refinery.
Egypt's Parliament - under the cloud of the Al Aqsa Intifada - debated in mid-May the future of the joint Israeli-Egyptian refinery, built near Alexandria and seen as an example of peaceful cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Egyptian Economy and Trade Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali told lawmakers, however, that Egypt wanted Israel to sell its stake in Midor.
The refinery was built with US and European technical assistance after the deal was sealed in 1996. The refinery was originally owned by Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem and Maiman's Merhav group. The European Bank of Investment provided about $300 million in long-term credit for the refinery.
At its launch, each side had 40 percent of the refinery's equity. Egypt General Petroleum, which was to provide the crude oil, held the rest – Albawaba.com
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