Bulk liquid storage operator Bidvest Tank Terminals (BTT) on Thursday celebrated the start of construction on its R1-billion mounded liquified petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility in Richards Bay.
The facility is set to house the largest tanks in the world once completed and is anticipated to greatly enhance LPG supply in Southern Africa.
The project was initiated at the end of 2017. The new facility is slated for completion in June 2020, and is expected to increase LPG supply in South Africa by 200 000 t/y, half of the country’s current consumption of about 400 000 t/y.
“We are proud and humbled to be part of contributing towards the economy of the region, and the country, and to be able to develop a facility of this type, which we are optimistic will change the landscape of the country’s energy sector,” enthused BTT technical director Xolani Mbulawa.
The facility is expected to assist in providing a viable, safer and more environment-friendly energy alternative for South Africans, with an increased, secure supply leading to lower prices.
Reliable supply is one of the biggest obstacles to increasing LPG use in the country, stated BTT.
Moreover, as the largest facility in Africa, it will also facilitate exports of LPG to neighbouring countries.
Further, the facility will create benefits in the value chain, with a vast number of services involved in end-to-end LPG supply, and these expanding significantly as a result. This will also bolster job creation.
The facility will store LPG on behalf of Petrodec, which ships from the US and Middle East. LPG will be offloaded in Richards Bay, from where LPG will be distributed across South Africa by rail and road.
The facility will comprise four 5 650 t tanks that are each 60 m long, 16 m in diameter and have an internal volume of 10 712 m3.
The combined LPG storage facility capacity will equate to 22 600 t.
Bidvest’s investment in the facility reaffirms the company’s commitment to South Africa, and to enhancing strategic infrastructure developments at Richards Bay port, a very important area for the country, said Bidvest Freight CEO Anthony Dawe.
“We are very excited about this project, and very optimistic about South Africa.”