London, UK | – Ivory Coast will organise debt relief for the state oil refinery using public and private funds, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Societe Ivoirienne de Rafinage (SIR) is the biggest refinery in French-speaking West Africa and has accumulated debts worth hundreds of billions of CFA francs (hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars) since 2008.
“The amount will correspond to the financial need,” government spokesman Bruno Nabagne Kone told reporters after a cabinet meeting. The government was talking to private institutions to help finance the debt, he said.
The refinery provides Ivory Coast with nearly all its petroleum products and also supplies neighbouring countries. Nigeria is its primary supplier of crude oil and its main purchaser of refined exports.
SIR’s annual output is currently 3.4 millions tonnes, up from 3.142 millions tonnes in 2012, and operating profit totalled at 36 billion CFA francs ($60 million) last year, compared to 19 billion CFA francs in 2012, Kone said.
Ivory Coast’s economy has expanded rapidly since a decade of political turmoil ended in 2011. The government says putting the energy sector on a firm footing is key to future growth.