Oil shortage sends Africa fuel prices rocketing

STORY: Africa faces a fuel shortage.

It’s led to long lines and rocketing prices at filling stations, and disruption for airlines and other businesses.

The problem isn’t so much a lack of crude oil, as a lack of refineries to turn it into useable fuel.

Refineries across sub-Saharan Africa can process 1.36 million barrels of oil per day, in theory.

But with many out of action, only 30% of that capacity was used last year.

Facilities in Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal are all shut, as are four in South Africa.

Nigeria - the continent’s biggest oil producer - pumps over 1.3 million barrels per day, but can process only 1% of that.

Though it exports crude, it depends on imports for almost 80% of its domestic fuel needs.

The problems come after Western firms pulled out of refinery projects in Africa and local investors were unable to fill the gap.

Now governments are scrambling to find a solution.

Ghana is trying to restart a refinery out of action since an explosion in 2017.

It’s a similar story in a Cameroon, where a 2019 fire knocked out one facility.

Cement magnate Aliko Dangote - Africa’s richest man - is building a vast refinery in Nigeria.

But it won’t open until next year, and other projects are stalled by a lack of cash.

Meanwhile, concern is mounting as fuel prices soar - not helped by the conflict in Ukraine.

Analysts say there is no sign of any quick fix.

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