Often times, we have been reminded that a stitch in time saves nine. And the Chinese are wound to saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Ordinarily, SONARA could have decided to fold its arms over the monopoly it enjoys in being the lone oil refinery in Cameroon. No doubt, economists and other international business experts would have rained hell on such an anti-progress driven attitude, although other forces would have continued to favour SONARA in that state of affairs.

However, conscious of the economic and business trends witnessed in the imposing global market today, SONARA decided to take the bull by its horns. The dream and vision of one man, in his concentrated lonely mood for the interest and good of all, has today spread and sprouted like mushroom in a fertile environment.

Not all dreams or ideas are shared by others, especially in a society like ours where there exists many ‘Thomases’.

The first step consisted in scouting for sources of financing in an economic environment where the financial market transactions do not easily come by.

SONARA’s technical team was confident that the project would succeed as long as the financial push is available. After all, at the end of the project, SONARA will fully consolidate its economic position among top refineries in the world. Extension means increasing in size (quantity) while modernization means meeting certain standards through quality. This globally means that, at the end of the project, SONARA could now carry out some industrial activities which were not possible before the face lifting, such as the production of tar or bitumen, the use of a blast proof control room equipped with a digital monitoring system etc.

SONARA’s past record in both safety and quality control soon attracted financial institutions which poured in from far and near.

Afriland First Bank, Ecobank and others took the bold step to accompany SONARA to the realization of the project by financing the first phase. This is surely by no chance. Bankers are the most known category of professionals who fear to take risks especially one that involve such huge financial investments.

But that the afore-mentioned Banks accepted to finance this project, is revelatory of its fruits-bearing nature.

The ingenuity of the SONARA technical team and hardworking nature of the SONARA staff, have all led to the completion of the first phase with the control room having gone operational to the astonishment of some Thomases.

The second phase which has been described as being ‘strategic and crucial’ shall soon effectively begin. At the end of it all, the company’s production capacity shall move from the present 2.1 million to 3.5 million tons/year. This will enable SONARA to satisfy the needs of its external customers whose demands can today be met at barely 30%. The company’s operational activities and methods would change to modern standards. This would render the refinery not only productive but help it to position itself in a competitive oil refining environment. This shall in some extent bring glory to the economy of Cameroon and fetch SONARA more reputation internationally.

 Divine Ebong-Pende