Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  28 Oct 2009

MANUFACTURING: Chevron Pours Millions Into Local Economy


Recent Western Cape Business News

POSSIBLY the most notable feature of Cape Town’s skyline, with the exclusion of course of its fabled Table Mountain, is the Chevron refinery in Milnerton which, with an estimated replacement value of more than R9 billion in current terms, makes it the biggest industrial undertaking in the Cape.

Despite its relatively low employment figures (it has a permanent staff complement of around 330 people) the operation has a huge impact on the local economy. Consider this: last year it had an operational spend of an estimated R1 billion, with some 75% of its procurement expenditure going to companies in the Western Cape.

Thanks to on-going capital expenditure to improve efficiencies, safety and, most importantly, the environmental friendliness of the plant, it is making strides towards being a world-class refinery.

Highly capital intensive, the Chevron refinery produces products from crude oil, the whole range of products ranging from LPG, petrol, paraffin, diesel, jet fuel, marine fuel oil, bitumen and sulphur.

The refinery has the capacity to process 110 000 barrels of crude per day, but currently probably operates at a level closer 90 000 barrels. It needs this buffer, not only for operational considerations, but for environmental and safety requirements as well.

Safety is of the utmost importance at the refinery. The understanding amongst all at the refinery is that work gets done safely or not at all. There’s always enough time to do a job right.

The same applies for contractor companies who supplement Chevron staff in the areas of project construction and plant maintenance. The use of contractors is a normal practice in the refining business world wide. What is important is not whether contractors are used, but how well they are managed. The same health, environmental and safety standards are set for contractors as Chevron for its own staff. The same applies for any BEE companies with whom Chevron does business.

Environmental improvements too are high on the list of the refinery’s priorities, with large investments for programmes such as the effluent plant upgrade, water recycling and so on.

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