The war in Ukraine may have blown a hole in Egypt’s overall finances (MEES, 15 June), but it appears to be coming to the rescue of the debt-laden Egypt Refining Company (ERC).

ERC operates a hydrocracker-based complex on the outskirts of Cairo whose business model is based on converting atmospheric residue from the neighboring simple Cairo refinery into 4.7mn t/y of high value products including 2.3mn t/y of high-spec diesel. Several years of delays meant both ERC and parent company Qalaa Holdings were already mired in debt when the $4.4bn complex started up in late 2019 (MEES, 24 January 2020). And then Covid struck. The first seven full quarters of operations saw seven straight losses. By September 2021 the firm had notched up cumulative losses of E£11.7bn ($742mn) and had a whopping $2.8bn debt burden (MEES, 10 December 2021). (CONTINUED - 909 WORDS)