The South African government is negotiating the construction of a new refinery, Reuters reported.

According to Money Web, the South African Energy Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, told the parliament that the cabinet expects to decide by December whether to build the refinery that has been under consideration for almost a decade.

The African country, which is a net importer of refined oil products, is considering West Africa and the Middle East, including Iran, for potential partners on a new refinery project.

The National oil firm PetroSA has been in favor of building a refinery with a capacity of up to 400,000b/d on the east coast, but the government was discouraged due to the $10b price-tag in 2010 and the lack of equity partners.

Kubayi said the refinery was now urgent because South Africa’s oil imports were increasing. She explained that a public-private partnership to develop the refinery, which would be mainly owned by the government, was the preferred approach.

“By the time any new refinery is completed, the country will be importing in excess of a third of its fuel requirements,” she said.