The new, upgraded Sasol and BP Southern Africa Alrode fuels depot is officially open for business.
The multimillion-rand upgrade project has increased Sasol’s fuel storage capacity from nine-million litres to 64-million litres.
This is the culmination of a four-year construction project, commissioned by the joint venture partners to address fuel storage and throughput constraints and to improve customer service levels.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the new depot on Friday to commemorate the successful execution of the project.
The old depot was inadequate to serve the market and achieve the expected customer service levels.
The new depot is supplied by Transnet Pipelines from Sasol Secunda, as well as the Natref and Sapref refineries, with adequate storage tankage for all fuel product grades.
It has sufficient gantry capacity to load and dispatch fuel delivery vehicles optimally.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sasol Energy executive VP Maurice Radebe emphasised the importance of the depot to the fuel sector and economy of the country. It is expected to protect against fuel shortages and guarantee security of fuel supply for the country, without which “the economy will grind to a halt”, said Radebe.
The facility was upgraded in two phases, with Phase Two completed earlier this year.
The second phase was aimed at ensuring a minimum storage capacity of nine days’ stock for each product grade, ensuring uninterrupted supply during stock replenishment and statutory maintenance, meeting projected market growth over the next 15 years, and enabling the simultaneous loading of all products at all bays.
Radebe indicated that the depot development project had already resulted in dividends, with Sasol already having experienced a positive uptake from the new depot. The company has achieved an increase of 21% volume throughput in the first month after beneficial operations of Phase 2.
“We are, therefore, very confident in this project bridging the product shortfall which was previously supplemented from our Secunda operations,” he noted.
Notably, the upgrade project was completed ahead of schedule, within budget and with no quality defects.