PETROCHEMICALS: City Calls For Bitumen Solution
Recent Western Cape Business News
Brett Herron, Cape Town Mayoral Committee member has written to the Ministers of Energy and Transport calling upon them to intervene to secure a reliable and predictable supply of bitumen. The supply of bitumen, an essential component in the production of asphalt required for the maintenance and construction of roads in the City, has been erratic and unreliable since last year. This is impacting negatively on Council’s ability to keep up with construction and maintenance programs and may continue to do so over the coming months. This could potentially result in under spend on operating and capital budgets.
Bitumen is a by-product from oil refineries and, due to factors such as breakdowns, production changes at refineries, and changes in the Middle-East supply situation, has been difficult to source for the City’s road maintenance projects. The local refinery, for example, no longer produces the grade of bitumen required for the production of asphalt specified for Council’s road surfacing.
We have been advised by one of our asphalt suppliers that the erratic bitumen supply situation will probably continue for the foreseeable future. This could impact negatively on road construction not only in Cape Town, but on a national scale as well.
Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater says, “Everything possible is being done to ensure that the impact of the present bitumen supply situation is minimised but delays on certain projects could still occur.”
Councillor Herron has called on the national Ministers of Transport and Energy to take urgent steps to ensure that South Africa’s future supply of bitumen is protected as it is a resource that is essential in preserving South Africa’s economic growth trajectory. “It is absurd that oil producers are continuing to export bitumen."
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