SA refining capacity to rise by end of November

South Africa’s refineries should again operate at over 95% of their total 708 000 barrels-per-day capacity by the third week of November, easing a bitumen and liquefied petroleum gas shortage in the country, the Sunday Times reported.

Africa’s biggest economy has been hit by shortages of the two products due to planned and unplanned shutdowns at four of the country’s six refineries.

The paper was citing Avhapfani Tshifularo, executive director at the South African Petroleum Industry Association. Tshifularo could not immediately be reached for comment.

South Africa’s LPG supplies were particularly constrained by the lack of sufficient import capacity for the product, which was costly and would take time to build, industry officials have said.

LPG is used in manufacturing processes, as fuel and by households, while bitumen is used in road construction.

Engen Petroleum’s 125 000 barrels-per-day plant will be shut until the end of November due to a fire and planned maintenance works at the plant.

State-owned PetroSA has said its 45 000 bpd gas-to-liquids (GTL) Mossel Bay refinery experienced a steam line failure during the start-up process following planned repairs and would remain shut for a few weeks.

The 180 000 bpd Sapref refinery, jointly owned by Shell and BP shut one of its process units for repairs after a problem was discovered during a post-maintenance restart. A spokesperson said on Thursday it would take about two weeks to repair the unit.

The remaining refineries include Chevron’s 100 000 bpd Chevref refinery, the 108 000 bpd Natref refinery jointly owned by Sasol and Total and Sasol’s 150 000 bpd refinery at Secunda.
- Reuters

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