CAPE TOWN (I-Net Bridge)
South African state-owned oil company PetroSA plans to build a 200,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery, most likely to be located at Coega in the Eastern Cape.
Chief Executive Sipho Mkhize during a briefing in Parliament Wednesday said the hunt is on for an equity partner or partners that would like to get involved in the project, which is estimated will cost 39 billion rand (approximately US$5.9 billion).
PetroSA supplies about 7% of South Africa's fuel needs, but is looking to sell as much as 30% of the country's fuel by the time a new refinery is running at full capacity.
"The demand for white products is showing an upward trend," Mkhize said.
He said the company will be approaching specific partners to co- invest. "Such partners might include people willing to supply us with crude oil, or to off-take the white product."
The company said it expects to turn the first sod on the project in 2010, and that the refinery will be up and running in 2014 or 2015.
Ten thousand construction jobs will be created, according to Joern Falbe, vice president for new ventures. He said the refinery will itself employ 1,000 people directly and will provide jobs for another 5,000 people indirectly.
Government has not yet given its full assent to the project, but Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, has had discussions about it.
"She said she will want to see the total studies when they come up," Mkhize said.
The studies currently being undertaken will also involve investigations into how the company's oil-from-gas plant at Mossel Bay can be fitted into the plan. The Mossel Bay plant is due to run out of gas supplies within the next four years, unless further exploration shows more satellite gas fields.
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