Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
19 Jul 2022
11:07 am

Sasol oil refinery shut down: Concerns over jet fuel but petrol pumps likely unaffected

Citizen Reporter

The closure of South Africa’s oil refinery is unlikely to have an impact on petrol pumps.

Photo: Flickr/dv-hans

The closure of South Africa’s final oil refinery this past week is unlikely to have an impact on the pumps.

Over the weekend, oil giant Sasol announced the implementation of a force majeure at its plant in Sasolburg in Free State following the shutting down of its Natref refinery in response to the delayed shipping of imported oil.

While it didn’t specify the reasons for the delay, Fin24 reports that supply chain issues have been pointed out as the probable cause following the most recent force majeure measures in April in response to the damaging floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

Although situated in Sasolburg, the provided oil for the Natref is offloaded in the Durban port before being transported, largely by rail, to the Sasol facility for eventual refinement.

According to the Fin24 report, the initial delay came as a result of the floods having damaged certain section of the rail infrastructure linking the town with the port.

Jet fuel

In a subsequent interview with 702 though, Deputy Director General for Mineral and Petroleum Regulation at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Tseliso Maqubela, said while it isn’t worried about a lack of fuel at the pumps, an impact is expected on the likely provision of aviation fuel.

“I don’t expect that diesel and petrol would be affected greatly. However, we are concerned about the impact this is going to have on the availability of jet fuel,” Maqubela said.

“What we will be doing this this week, is to assess what the impact is going to be and how we will recover from it. There is the ability to import fuel in the country, but the impact on jet fuel is something we are going to have a look at.”

Alleviating fears further, Maqubela said it expects the Astron Energy plant in Cape Town to be operational from September after a series of explosions resulted in it being closed earlier this year.

Remaining closed is the Engen plant in Durban and until sometime next year, the PetroSA facility, formerly Mosgas, outside Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.