Assiut Oil Refining Company (ASORC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two other Egyptian firms to set up a $381.5m (EGP6bn) atmospheric distillation facility at the Assuit Refinery.

The MoU has been signed with Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industries (Enppi) and The Petroleum Projects & Technical Consultations Company (Petrojet).

With a design capacity to handle five million tonnes of crude per year, the facility is expected to contribute to the operational sustainability of current and future projects such as a butane gas recovery unit.

The MoU, which has been announced by Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, will also see the expansion of oil refinery production.

Ennpi and Petrojet consortium will serve as the contractor for the project, which forms part of the expansion of the Assuit refinery to help secure petrochemicals products to the northern part of the country.

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al-Molla said that the country is undertaking a development and modernisation plan, as well as expansion of refineries to secure fuel supplies for the present and future.

By 2023, the African country aims to reach self-sufficiency in petrochemicals products.

As part of this effort, the government is undertaking five large projects in oil refining and petrochemicals with a total investment of more than $14bn, reported Xinhua.

This month, Egypt began construction of a gas pipeline that has an estimated capacity of 15 million cubic feet of gas per day in the Western Desert.

The pipeline is being constructed by Egyptian General Petroleum (EGPC).

According to Al Borsa newspaper, EGPC also started production from the north-west gas field, which has an initial capacity of 15 million cubic feet of gas per day.