Coega refinery licence granted

15 October 2008

State oil and gas company PetroSA has been granted a manufacturing licence for its planned US$11-billion (about R101.4-billion) oil refinery at the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province.

The granting of the licence is seen as a significant milestone in the development of the 400 000 barrel-per-day refinery, dubbed Project Mthombo.

“The awarding of the licence demonstrates [the] government’s commitment to, and confidence in, PetroSA’s capacity to provide a feasible, sustainable and commercially viable solution to the liquid fuels supply challenges facing South Africa,” PetroSA chief executive Sipho Mkhize said in a statement by the Coega Development Corporation earlier this month.

The granting of a manufacturing licence – carried out by the Controller of Petroleum Products, a unit of the Department of Minerals and Energy – is subject to certain normal business conditions, such as a permit to operate from the environmental authorities.

Strategic importance

Mkhize said the project was of strategic importance to South Africa’s economic development aspirations. Expected to be the biggest on the African continent, the refinery will come on stream in 2014 and is expected to create over 25 000 direct and indirect jobs around the Port Elizabeth area.

“The Coega refinery does not only address security of supply,” he said. “It also provides a strategic new energy hub in addition to the present Durban crude supply chain, while presenting a major economic growth opportunity for an underdeveloped region of South Africa.”

The granting of the licence comes shortly after PetroSA appointed international financial services group HSBC as financial advisor, while the company added that it would be awarding an engineering contract for the refinery shortly.

SAinfo reporter

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