At least two South African crude oil refineries, Sapref in Durban and Natref in Sasolburg, are in line for modifications in anticipation of the country's move towards cleaner fuels.
The government wants to introduce clean fuels with effect from July 2017. Environmental health and air quality improvement are the main motivations.
But the move will require oil companies that own crude oil refineries to modify them. This could see companies digging deeper into their pockets to carry out the upgrades. SA's crude oil refineries are Sapref, the Engen refinery (also in Durban), the Chevron refinery in Cape Town and the Natref refinery.
Sapref said last week it would be carrying out modifications to several existing units and build two new process units. Sapref spokeswoman Cindy Govender said on Thursday detailed engineering work was expected to take place next year. & Construction is planned to start in 2014 and should be completed mid-2017.& Sapref is a joint venture between Shell SA Refining and BP Southern Africa, and is the largest crude oil refinery in Southern Africa, with 35% of SA's refining capacity. It processes 24000 tons of crude oil a day. & Although we will have a few more units to operate (during the modification), refinery operations will not change significantly,& Ms Govender said. & The design phase still has to be completed and at this stage budgets are still being finalised,& she said.
Sasol, majority owner of the Natref refinery, said on Friday it could spend about R5bn for its portion of the refinery in the period between 2014 and 2017.
& In line with the two specifications, certain infrastructure changes would be required to further reduce the level of sulphur in petrol and diesel, and to reduce levels of benzene in petrol,& Sasol spokeswoman Jacqui O'Sullivan said. Natref is a joint venture between Sasol and Total.
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