The outage came as a result of a breakdown in the reformer common 30-inch line. On investigating the extent of the damage it was found that other key sections of the line needed repair. This required the sourcing of spares, which the manufacturer did not have in stock. The parts would have to be manufactured and it would take five days for delivery to PetroSA.
The manufacture of the 30-inch steel pipe would take place in Gauteng and would also need to be transported to Mossel Bay.
General manager of operations at PetroSA Michael Nene explained that the spares would likely arrive by the weekend and repairs would be completed by Tuesday, which would mean that the plant would be back to full production by Saturday March 8.
The entire plant was closed, and no production was taking place. PetroSA said that it had enough stock to supply customers for about two weeks, but had a contingency plan to supplement shortfalls in supply with imported fuels, should any delays in commissioning arise.
"The supply of industrial gasses and heavy fuel oil to customers will unfortunately be disrupted until commissioning activities commence," PetroSA CEO Sipho Mkhize stated.
"We have decided to close the plant as we are not prepared to place at risk the lives of about 1 000 people as well as the local community. Safety is our priority and the closure was decided after a complete risk assessment," Mkhize said.
"We are doing our utmost to minimize downtime and get the plant up and running again," added Nene.