PetroSA urges customers to make other arrangements

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cape Town - PetroSA has urged its customers to make alternative arrangements during the company's planned maintenance shutdown from 22 September to 14 November.

On Monday, the country's national oil company said it would not be able to produce some gases, like propane, carbon dioxide, liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen at its gas-to-liquids refinery and offshore platform operations.

"We would therefore appreciate if our customers could make alternative arrangements to meet their requirements during this period and make contingency plans should the maintenance plan be extended," said PetroSA Vice-President for Trading, Supply and Logistics, Dr Nompumelelo Siswana.

He said the shutdown was necessary for the continued safe operations of the Mossel Bay Gas-To-Liquids Refinery and the offshore FA Platform.

PetroSA has, however, made contingency plans for the availability of other products such as diesel and petrol for the Mossel Bay supply area.

The scheduled shutdown is aimed at ensuring the integrity of equipment and systems at both the Gas-to-liquid refinery and the FA Platform, in compliance with the Mine Health and Safety Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as to maintain its operating permit.

The three-yearly scheduled shutdown is expected to cost R495 million and involves a workforce of which 150 are residents of Mossel Bay.

More than 50 percent of the labour source was from Mossel Bay and surrounding areas, it said.

Engineering management contracting firms Grinaker LTA and Kentz had been appointed to assist with the shutdown.

"Their brief includes ensuring that local community people in Mossel Bay participate and benefit during the shutdown," the company said.

Statistics showed that PetroSA had recruited about 92 percent of all required workforce from the Mossel Bay and surrounding areas, while Kentz had sourced 64 percent from the local community and Grinaker LTA 61 percent.

According to Dan Marokane, Vice-President for Operations, the company has emphasised the use of local labour for the execution of the shutdown as a means of maximising job opportunities for Mossel Bay.

"Our strategy is clear, we give local people the opportunity first, then we can only get people outside Mossel Bay if required skills are not found.

"We will however not comprise on the required level of competency and skills coupled with safety alertness in this regard, hence our slogan do it right the first time every time,' said Morokane.