/ 12 June 2012

South Africa’s reliance on imported fuels rising

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has suspended deputy minister of small business development, Dipuo Peters, without pay for one month over violations of the ministerial code of ethics.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Tuesday, she said the country’s refineries were not able to meet the demand for such products.

“The importation of petroleum products to South Africa is increasing annually. The country is a net importer and therefore relies on foreign refineries to meet local demand.”

Local refineries were currently operating at 80% to 90% of their capacity.

“However, even if they were operating at optimal levels, they will still not be able to meet local demand for petroleum … which has exceeded domestic supply,” Peters said.

According to a table included in the reply, the volume of imported petrol has increased from 2.09-billion litres in 2010, to 2.42-billion last year.

Diesel imports rose to 3.75-billion litres last year, from 2.57-billion litres the year before. Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) imports rose from 3.75-million kilograms in 2010, to 19.67-million kilograms last year.

Peters said building a proposed new refinery at the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape would reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

“The development of the Mthombo Project, PetroSA’s new oil refinery initiative, is aimed, among other things, to reduce reliance on foreign refineries, to meet local demand,” she said. – Sapa