Project's Phases

Construction of Sonaref is divided in four phases:
  1. FEED (Front-End Engineering and Design)
  2. EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction)
  3. Commissioning
  4. Sartup
Emphasis should be placed in the fact that both the FEED and the EPC are being performed simultaneously, because in order to comply with the project's schedule we already started work on part of detailed engineering and procurement.

Before the plant starts operating, it is imperative to make sure that each individual instrument and revolving equipment, as well as the integrated system of the refinery’s safety are fully operational. In the course of this activity, the various teams responsible for intervention will learn about communication and coordination for the plant to come into operation.


Sonaref startup

This will only happen after the signing of the final commissioning Dossier, certifying that everything has been tested and validated. The start phase does not require strict planning as it is always difficult to foresee how long it would take for the plant to be operational, considering the necessary adjustments to be made for a plant being started for the first time. On a timescale, it is estimated that starting could take place within 45 days.

We should remember that Lobito Refinery will be built in two phases, with the first expected to come on stream in 2015 with nine (9) processing units, and a year later the other remaining eleven (11) units would be installed.



FEED is the development of the baseline study, pre-engineering detail design and development of the licensing activities for the processing units. This phase is already being performed with completion expected in September 2010. Therefore, we signed 14 of the 20 units that require licensing and engineering agreements for Sonaref in Phase 1. The other units do not require licensing and are essential for the start of Phase 2.

The EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) phase englobes thre distinct activities that are closely related.

  • Engineering - detailed engineering design was carried out based on the project's FEED and consists on its review with the purpose of deepening the project's study and, as such, reproducing it with all technical details in time for beginning of the refinery's construction.

  • Procurement - the purchase of materials and equipment is carried out based on technical specifications that are sent for consultation to various pre-selected suppliers. First comes the evaluation of the various proposals followed by negotiations and finally the acquisition of materials and equipment. This whole activity requires special attention especially with regards to the ordering of materials with of long-term production.

    Planning the transportation of materials and equipment is very critical, due to factors related to delay in manufacturing and maritime conditions, since virtually all materials and equipment will be transported by sea, as there is no better solution both in cost and in transport capacity.