Sub-Sahara Mining & Industrial Journal

South African fuel producer Sasol to restart refinery by end July

South African motorists were sent into panic once again this past weekend as oil refineries were shut down due to a lack of crude oil.

This comes after Sasol Ltd declared force majeure at its second biggest refinery on Friday due to a lack of crude oil.

On Monday, Sasol said it will restart its refinery by the end of July.

The shutdown of the Natref refinery around 100 kilometres from Johannesburg has sparked concerns of petrol and diesel shortages in the country where 60% of fuel products are imported.

Sasol, however, said it did not expect any shortages.

Sasol is the only producer of petroleum products in South Africa through its two refineries – Secunda, with output of around 150 000 barrels per day (bpd) and Natref, around 108 000 bpd.

“The crude tanker has arrived in Durban and cargo dispatches are under way. Natref should start-up to run at maximum production capability by end July,” Sasol said in the statement.

The company, which owns the Natref refinery with a subsidiary of France’s TotalEnergies, said it does not “anticipate any fuel supply shortages to fuel stations, including our own”.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Energy Department said the country will not run out of petrol and diesel.

The department’s deputy director-general of mineral and petroleum regulation, Tseliso Maqubela, said, “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, particularly for the airports”.

Maqubela said officials would use this week to assess the impact of the move and what it would take to recover.

“There is the ability to import fuel in the country. We’ve always planned for such an eventuality but I think the impact on jet fuel, because this was something that was not expected, is something we’re going to have to look at,” Maqubela said.

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