PETROCHEMICALS: Oil Refineries Hurt SA
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE state of South Africa’s aging oil refineries is beginning to hurt business and the economy says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Recent unscheduled shut-downs have caused fuel shortages and in the Western Cape Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) shortages have resulted in rationing and “no gas” signs going up in retail gas shops. In addition road works have been held up because the refineries were not in a position to supply asphalt.
“Now we have a new crisis with another refinery by-product, carbon dioxide for soft drinks,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber.
Most of the C02 for soda water and beverage companies in the Western and Eastern Cape comes from the Petro SA refinery at Mossel Bay but a problem at the plant has meant too much hydrogen in the gas raising safety issues. The Chamber has been told that this problem is unlikely to be corrected before September next year. The Chevron refinery in Cape Town does not produce “food grade” C02.
One of the major soft drink companies is able to make its own C02 from diesel but this is expensive while others have been battling with the shortage since March. One bottling plant in Lansdowne has had to close its door putting about 60 people off work.
Mr Yatesh Bhikha, the group accountant of the Lansdowne company, said the general shortage meant that other suppliers could not help as they had commitments to their own clients.
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