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OR Tambo fuel row

Qudsiya Karrim

Jet fuel suppliers to OR Tambo International, Africa's busiest airport, played the blame game following a fuel shortage.

Jet fuel suppliers to OR Tambo International, Africa’s busiest airport, played the blame game this week following a fuel shortage.

The shortfall was caused by interruptions in the fuel supply, which have resulted in the airport only having a two-day stockpile of fuel.

The benchmark is a five-day reserve. But both Transnet and Sasol, who provide fuel to OR Tambo, have denied responsibility for the unexpected shortage.

Transnet blamed Sasol for allegedly failing to provide sufficient fuel from its Natref refinery, which is coowned by Sasol and Total.

Transnet’s petroleum and gas pipeline division supplies about 70% of the airport’s fuel through Natref, Douglas Maphiri It’s a plot, says suspended auditor general while the rest is transported by rail.

On Monday, Transnet shut down the pipeline between the Natref refinery and the airport because of ‘insufficient supply from the refinery”, Transnet’s John Dludlu said.

Sasol has denied the claim. Spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan said: ‘For the month of July, Sasol did not only meet the full jet fuel requirements of our customers at [OR Tambo], we in fact exceeded the order by 5 000m3.” She said Sasol was requested to feed additional fuel to the airport last weekend to assist in bridging the shortfall from the coast.

The shortfall was a result of Transnet’s freight rail service being interrupted by operational issues. Dludlu said those issues had since been resolved. The stockpile is expected to return to normal levels soon.


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