OVERVIEW potential shale gas resources. The study centres on the area around Beaufort West in the Karoo. The study wants to look at the reserves, the technology associated with getting the gas out of the ground and the value chain. Natural gas lies offshore to the west of South Africa in the Atlantic Ocean (Ibhubesi) and off the southern coast in the Indian Ocean (Bredasdorp Basin). Both fields have great potential: Block 2A of the Ibhubesi gas field northwest of Saldanha is estimated to have reserves of 850-billion cubic feet of gas and the Bredasdorp Basin is said to have reserves of one-trillion cubic feet, but getting to the gas has proved tricky. The Bredasdorp Basin is close to Mossel Bay where a gas-toliquids plant is located. Project Ikhwezi, run by South Africa’s oil company PetroSA, produced 25billion cubic feet (bcf) from that field instead of a projected 242bcf (Engineering News). PetroSA recorded a net operating loss of R14.6-billion for the 2014/15 financial year. Sunbird Energy (a joint venture between Sunbird Energy 76% and PetroSA 24%) was reported in March 2016 to be proceeding with plans to produce gas from the Ibhubesi field, but lower global gas prices and negotiations with national utility Eskom (which has to agree to buy the gas) were factors that had to be considered (Financial Mail). Further afield, major gas finds have been made off the coast of East Africa and plans to pipe greater volumes of Mozambican gas to Gauteng are far advanced. WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
Industrial gas manufacturing in the Western Cape is a particular focus for Air Products, a part of the Metkor Group controlled by Remgro. The company is the largest supplier in the pipeline and on-site markets, and it also supplies to the packaged chemicals, bulk and chemicals markets. The company has a national footprint, with a very strong presence in the oil, gas and chemical hub of the country around Sasolburg and Vereeniging. Air Products has a network of private distributors who get support from the company in terms of sales, service and technical advice. Safety training is also offered.
Facilities The gas-to-liquids plant that PetroSA runs at Mossel Bay on the south coast is one of the country’s key pieces of energy infrastructure. Getting new feedstock for this plant is now an urgent priorty (and something which Project Ikhwezi was supposed to do). The Chevref oil refinery in the Cape Town suburb of Milnerton is one of six in South Africa. It produces about 110 000 barrels a day of South Africa’s total production of 703 000 barrels a day. Chevron gave notice in early 2016 of its intention to leave South Africa. A price of R15-billion has been suggested for Chevron’s assets, which include a lubricants business and 850 Caltex petrol stations (Sunday Times). A new facility is to be added to the oil and gas sector in Cape Town – a 118 000m³ fuel storage unit. The Bergan terminal will comprise 12 tanks located on the Eastern Mole of the Port of Cape Town and it will be connected by pipeline to the Chevref refinery. A new import terminal dedicated to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is being constructed at Saldanha Bay by Sunrise Energy. The terminal will be an open-access facility, so any gas importer, distributor or downstream user can use it for the importation of LPG, commercial propane or commercial butane. It is due to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2017.
ONLINE RESOURCES Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association of Southern Africa: www.lpgas.co.za National Department of Energy: www.energy.gov.za National Energy Regulator of South Africa: www.nersa.org.za Petroleum Agency of South Africa: www.petroleumagencysa.com PetroSA: www.petrosa.co.za Saldanha Bay IDZ: www.sbidz.co.za South African Oil and Gas Alliance: www.saoga.org.za