Eltel Cable Set to Bring Power to New Angola Refinery by October

Eltel Networks Te AB, a Swedish power-transmission provider, said it will electrify an $8 billion refinery project in Angola as the southwest African country seeks to cut fuel imports following a 27-year civil war.

The company plans to switch on a 250-kilometer (155-mile) transmission line in October, linking the Cambambe hydroelectric dam with the 200,000-barrel-a-day plant under construction near Lobito, site supervisor Jens Sjolin said in an interview. The $130 million, 220-kilovolt line will be the first to connect the country’s north and center.

The Eltel project, which has required surveyors to steer around unexploded grenades left from the war to prepare the route, forms part of Angola’s rebuilding plans following the end of the conflict in 2002. The country wants the refinery to cut $250 million a year in fuel imports by 2016, according to the state petroleum company Sonangol EP. The government also plans new power plants to more than double electricity output.

Angola’s grid is more advanced than those in other nations in the region such as Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, Sjolin said at a work camp near Sumbe, 330 kilometers south of the capital Luanda. “It’s built a lot of new roads over the past 10 years that give access to build transmission lines,” he said.

The country, Africa’s largest crude producer after Nigeria, pumps 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from offshore fields operated by companies including Chevron Corp. and Total SA, and already has a refinery in Luanda that processes about 41,000 barrels a day.

Project Setbacks

The transmission-line venture, funded by a loan from Stockholm-based Eltel to Angola that’s backed by the Swedish government, uses Turkish steel in 641 towers, Sjolin said. Bureaucracy and difficulties importing equipment have delayed the project by about two years, according to the supervisor, who said the company also encountered relics from the war.

“We found some grenades, but there were no explosions,” said Sjolin, who surveyed the entire route on foot. “We had to go around some properties like the local petroleum school and land belonging to generals.”

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