/ 24 December 2011

Fuel shortages well into January

Fuel shortages at petrol stations in inland provinces will probably last until around the third week in January, the energy department said on Friday.

By then the supply backlog would have been addressed, spokesperson Johannes Mokobane said in a statement.

“The department wishes to assure all concerned that it is in daily consultation with the oil companies that are responsible for supplying fuel to the market, and has requested them to submit their contingency plans.”

Total South Africa said the shortage was the result of an unforeseen technical problem at the Single Buoy Mooring facility in the sea off Durban, resulting in it being closed for repairs.

“The product shortage affects all grades of fuel and Total South Africa is taking into consideration national interest and has implemented emergency supply measures,” the company said.

Mokobane said the government had noted that the periodic “fuel availability challenges” indicated an urgent need for additional refining capacity, along with improvements in import infrastructure for liquid fuels.

“In this respect government has commenced work towards the development of medium-long term policy frameworks and plans to alleviate the current problems experienced.”

Mokobane urged motorists to fill up regularly and avoid driving at high speeds, which led to higher fuel consumption.

Meanwhile Shell SA was making steady progress towards restoring full operations at the Alberton fuel depot, south of Johannesburg.

“We expect the depot to be fully operational during the course of this weekend, which will allow for the reinstatement of fuel delivery services,” spokesperson Elton Fortuin said.

The depot was shut down for safety reasons last Friday after a fuel leak. — Sapa