Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  01 Mar 2010

ENERGY: More Certainty About Gas


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE Cape Chamber of Commerce says it welcomes the fact that regulations on the sale of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) are to be finalised this month as this will enable businesses and other consumers to make decisions on investing in gas appliances.

For the past six months we have been in a situation where a substantial reduction in the retail price of gas has been promised but until the ‘when’ and ‘how much’ are known it is difficult to make decisions,” said Mr Joe Emeran, President of  the Chamber.

The Chamber believes that a switch to gas for process heat in industry and heating and cooking in the domestic sector will bring considerable relief to the electricity supply network.

The most important thing about gas is that much of it is used during peak hours for cooking. This is the time when Eskom has to start up its diesel-fired generators which produce extremely expensive electricity. Using gas will reduce the demand for this power and this will reduce the Eskom bill for imported fuel,” said Mr Emeran.

In the long term the move will stimulate the development of the gas industry and open the way for the use of natural gas.

The Chamber believes South Africa has been too dependent on coal and electricity and bringing gas into the energy mix will give industries which use process heat new options and that should lead to better decisions and improved efficiencies.

LPG could open up the gas market and once it is there it will be viable to tap our off-shore gas reserves and the huge quantities of methane gas locked up in South African and Botswana coal fields,” Mr Emeran said.

Also important was the fact that increased use of gas would bring almost immediate relief to Eskom. “Building new power stations can take up to 10 years and the capital costs are enormous, but gas can be made available quickly with most of the infrastructure financed by the private sector,” he said.

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