The good news is 'there will be gas'
Residents in Johannesburg and other inland and KwaZulu-Natal regions who are experiencing gas shortages need not panic because “there will be gas”, Colin McClelland, director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association, told the Mail & Guardian Online on Thursday.
“I’m not concerned that people won’t get gas,” he said.
McClelland stated there has been a huge additional demand for the 9kg liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, which was not anticipated.
He attributes the demand to problems with the Enref and Sapref refineries and the sudden cold snap in Gauteng, which created an “extra demand, not only for gas, but for the cylinders”.
He appealed to residents who are having difficulty obtaining gas to use less while the high demand persists.
He said: “Energy efficiency and energy saving is always a good idea. If you could use less gas, you save yourself money ... We have to make our gas go further.
“I would encourage everyone to, if they can, warm themselves with one bar [on a gas heater] and wear a jersey. It’s much better than warming themselves with two bars and wearing no jersey.”
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) said in a statement on Thursday: “The warmer weather this week has resulted in slightly lower consumer demand. The shortage should be over within the next week to ten days. The company does stress, however, that this is subject to the refineries coming on stream on Monday June 5 and producing adequate quantities of product.
“This situation is not unique to Afrox and has affected other national LPG suppliers such as Easigas, BP and Totalgaz, all three of whom have announced a shortage and have declared force majeure.”
Rick Hogben, the managing director of Afrox, said in a statement: “Until the shortage is well and truly over it will be necessary for Afrox to prioritise business customers who are mainly supplied in bulk or 458kg cylinders.
“The consumer market that mainly uses 9kg gas cylinders for heating, cooking and lighting should also see an end to the supply problems in the next week to ten days.
“Presently there are not enough 9kg gas cylinders in circulation, but Afrox will shortly be boosting its 1,5-million 9kg cylinder population with an additional 50 000 cylinders, which are currently going into the market. A further 100 000 9kg cylinders are on order and will arrive within the next two months,” he said.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has forecasted a chilly weekend in Gauteng.
Siyabonga Mthethwa, a forecaster at the weather service, told M&G Online that people in Gauteng should brace themselves for cold weather this weekend.
“On Saturday we expect the cold front to hit Gauteng. It will cause a drop in temperatures of 5ºC. It will drop further on Sunday but will start recovering during the week,” he said.
However, Mthethwa said residents in Gauteng are not likely to experience a “bitterly cold” winter this year.
“It doesn’t look that way at this stage.”