Southern Africa’s biggest refinery stops production indefinitely

Southern Africa’s biggest refinery stops production indefinitely

Shell and BP South African Petroleum Refineries (SAPREF) have declared that they will put a spending restriction in place and halt refinery operations by the end of March 2022.
This will last indefinitely, with the possibility of a restart in the future, including in the event of a future sale. The refinery in Durban is in charge of a third of the country’s fuel supply.
The refinery is a 50-50 joint venture between British Petroleum (BP) and Shell that can produce 180 000 barrels per day, or 35% of South Africa’s refining capability.
According to SAPREF, the decision was made to allow shareholders to make an educated judgment on the many options accessible to them, with the selling option being the most desired.
Until decisions about the future of the plant have been made – including a possible change of ownership – the SAPREF shareholders said they are unable to commit to further investment in the refinery.

“The decision to pause refinery operations currently has no impact on full time employees, and safety remains a primary consideration. Moving forward, the shareholders will use other existing assets and trading arrangements to ensure ongoing security of fuel supply to the country and their consumers.”

BP SA Chief Executive Officer Taelo Mojapelo said over the many decades since its establishment, SAPREF has made immense economic contributions at both a local and national scale.

“For this reason, we continue to pursue the sale of our share in the refinery so that it can continue to advance its legacy as a reliable, safe and productive asset.
“Leading up to the refining pause, we have put contingencies in place to ensure that this decision does not impact our customer facing businesses in South Africa or our fuel supply obligations.
“We remain committed to South Africa through our demonstrated transformation initiatives in the value chain and continue to work with our strategic partners to strengthen our differentiated convenience offers.”
BP SA CEO, Taelo Mojapelo

After 67 years of operation, the Engen refinery in Wentworth was converted to a storage terminal last year. The plant was shut down after being engulfed in flames in December 2020, .

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