The South African Petroleum Refinery’s (Sapref’s) new R50-million reactor arrived at the Durban port earlier this week.
The 242 t, 31-m-long reactor will enable Sapref, which is a joint venture between Shell Refining South Africa and BP Southern Africa, to produce “better, low-sulphur diesel”, thereby ensuring the future sustainability of diesel supply to the country.
The reactor – dubbed Umkhoma – because of its whale-like shape and size, was manufactured in Brescia, Italy.
It is made from a vanadium-enriched chrome steel alloy – “a stronger and more durable material,” Sapref said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Sapref project manager Pensilla Billat expressed her excitement that the reactor had finally reached Durban.
“The reactor was classified as a super abnormal load, thereby requiring road route clearance and special permission for its last journey from the Durban harbour to the refinery, in Prospecton.”
She explained that the replacement of the reactor is part of a series of projects to upgrade the refinery to make it more sustainable, competitive and environment-friendly.
Its installation in the refinery will coincide with Sapref’s scheduled 2019 maintenance shutdown, a bi-yearly event “that creates thousands of project-related jobs for Durban communities”.