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SAPREF to pause refinery operations in South Africa by March

SAPREF to pause refinery operations in South Africa by March
Photo courtesy of SAPREF

SAPREF, a joint venture between Shell Refining SA and BP Southern Africa, will pause refinery operations no later than the end of March 2022, following consultation with government, unions, and employees.

This will be for an indefinite period but with a re-start possible in the future,  including in the event of any future sale. 

Established in 1963, SAPREF is the largest crude oil refinery in South Africa with 35% of the  countryโ€™s refining capacity. Situated on the East Coast of South Africa, SAPREF processes 24,000 tons of crude oil per day and produces 10 main products, including petrol, diesel, jet fuel, lubricating oil, liquid  petroleum gas, paraffin, solvents, bitumen, marine fuel oil and chemical feedstocks.  

The decision has been taken to allow an informed finalization on the various options available to  the shareholders, a sale option being the most preferred. Until decisions about the future of the  plant have been made โ€“ including a possible change of ownership โ€“ the SAPREF shareholders  are unable to commit to further investment in the refinery. 

The decision to pause refinery operations currently has no impact on full time employees, and  safety remains a primary consideration. 

Moving forward, the shareholders will use other existing assets and trading arrangements to  ensure ongoing security of fuel supply to the country and their consumers.  

โ€œOver the many decades since its establishment, SAPREF has  made immense economic contributions at both a local and national scale. For this reason, we  continue to pursue the sale of our share in the refinery so that it can continue to advance its legacy  as a reliable, safe and productive asset,โ€ said Taelo Mojapelo, bpSA CEO.. 

โ€œLeading up to the refining pause, we have put contingencies in place to ensure that this decision  does not impact our customer facing businesses in South Africa or our fuel supply obligations.  We remain committed to South Africa through our demonstrated transformation initiatives in the  value chain and continue to work with our strategic partners to strengthen our differentiated  convenience offers.โ€ 

โ€œThe decision to  pause the refinery was a difficult one for both shareholders. Shell remains committed to security  of supply to our customers over this production pause. South Africa continues to be a key location  for Shell as we progress our growth agenda as an energy provider of choice and a Nation Builder,โ€ said Hloniphizwe Mtolo, country chair, Shell Downstream South Africa.

bpSA has operated in Southern Africa for over 100 years, with a footprint of more than 500 branded  retail service stations in South Africa and core convenience offerings through Wild Bean Cafรฉ and  Pick n Pay Express. bpSA has invested in six fuel storage terminals, two of which are 100% bpSA  owned.