Some of SA's petroleum companies have asked the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to revoke their licences for petroleum storage facilities around the country.
The companies want Nersa to revoke the licences either because they are selling the assets, or because they deem them economically nonviable. The move creates opportunities for smaller players such as resellers of fuel products.
BP Southern Africa wants its licence for a storage facility in Tzaneen, Limpopo, to be revoked. BP said national oil firm PetroSA was willing to take over the facility.
PetroSA also wanted to take over BP's other storage facility in Bloemfontein, BP said.
Chevron also wants the regulator to revoke its licence for a storage depot in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. Chevron said the facility was & not economically viable& The Chevron facility stores illuminating paraffin and petrol. In SA, Chevron markets its petroleum products under the Caltex brand.
South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) executive director Avhapfani Tshifularo said yesterday that petroleum depots were attractive to petroleum products' wholesalers as they enabled them to buy products in bulk.
Responding to whether it was acquiring storage facilities, PetroSA said it & is constantly on the lookout for opportunities that enhance our ability to meet and advance our shareholder's mandate. When and if PetroSA does make any such acquisitions, these will be announced through the appropriate channels.& Mr Tshifularo said stringent health, safety and environmental requirements could be factors which could prompt companies to ask Nersa to either amend their licence conditions or revoke the licences.
Even in the case of existing facilities, a company needed to apply for a licence if, for instance, it wanted to build an additional tank, Mr Tshifularo said.
(Originally published April 13, 2012, in Business Day.)
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