Eastern Cape sets sights on becoming Africa’s leading fuel bunkering centre

12th May 2017 By: Mia Breytenbach - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: Features

Eastern Cape sets sights on becoming Africa’s leading fuel bunkering centre

TARGETING OPPORTUNITIES The Eastern Cape province is targeting liquid fuels, bunkering services and biofuels, gas-to-power generation and a commercial and industrial gas industry
Photo by: Duane Daws

Following the successful introduction of a deep-sea bunkering service off the coast of Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, the province has set itself the target of becoming the leading bunkering stopover in Africa, states Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

“The province is targeting liquid fuels, including bunkering services and biofuels, gas-to-power generation, the development of commercial and industrial gas and [an] oil rigs service industry. “Our vision . . . is to become the biggest bunkering service centre on the continent,” Qoboshiyane noted at the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017), hosted in Port Elizabeth last month.

He added that the province was pleased with the progress made in the first offshore bunkering services that started in May 2016, stressing that it had also proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that Nelson Mandela Bay was “one of the most suitable locations” for offshore bunkering services.

The service has recorded “phenomenal growth” – from serving ten ships in May 2016 to 103 ships a month from January 2017, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle noted when he delivered his State of the Province address in Bhisho in February.

Qoboshiyane highlighted that these services were also beginning to open other economic opportunities in the entire value chain.

“The Ngqura port is always hosting three oil rigs at any given moment, thereby confirming it as the most strategic location for oil rigs repair,” he said.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority is conducting a study to assess the economic contribution and employment opportunities created by the offshore bunkering industry in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality. It will also map out industry value chain activities that provide potential for beneficiation by the local industry.

There are also plans for a gas pipeline linking a new terminal in the Port of Ngqura to State-owned gas-to-fuels company PetroSA’s Mossgas refinery, in Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape.

Qoboshiyane further noted that the commitment by the national government to allocate 1000 MW of gas-to-power generation at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) was warmly welcomed.

“The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), in partnership with Nelson Mandela University, is in the advanced stages of baseline studies on the shale gas potential in the Karoo and other parts of the province,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DEDEAT has completed a detailed business case for gas-to-power generation at the Coega IDZ. Government’s expectations include a floating system for liquid natural gas (LNG) transfer, allocation of the 1 000 MW plant and 35% local beneficiation from the R25-billion investments, as well as the opening of opportunities for smaller industry players, Qoboshiyane pointed out.

He suggested that these initiatives placed the Coega IDZ and the Ngqura port in a better position for an LNG industry and gas-to-power generation.

In addition to the proposed pipeline from Ngqura to Mossgas, the Department of Economic Affairs is also exploring the establishment of a pipeline to the East London port for LNG to supply the industry around the Buffalo City Metro and the Wild Coast Special Economic Zone.

The gas-to-power generation industry is gearing up to create 8 500 jobs during construction as well as 300 permanent jobs, with more jobs expected to be generated from downstream industries, Qoboshiyane concluded.