Refinery closure rumours – company 'considering options'

14 October 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020818

Government & Municipal
Manufacturing
Petrochemicals

ENGEN says it is considering several options with regards to its South Durban refinery, including a multi-billion-rand plan to boost its import and supply capacity, but has declined to confirm or deny whether this will involve the closure of the plant.

“No decision has been made and Engen remains fully committed to operating the… refinery in a safe and reliable manner,” company spokesman Gavin Smith said.

He was responding to a recent report in a Durban newspaper that the petroleum giant planned to turn the site into a storage facility for imported products.

“Engen is confident about the long-term growth prospects of South Africa. As leader of the downstream South African petroleum market, the company constantly reviews and evaluates efficiency improvements in its supply infrastructure to ensure that its business capabilities are strengthened, operations remain safe, security of supply is protected, and risk is managed and mitigated accordingly,” Smith said.

Refinery closure rumours – company 'considering options'

The company said in an earlier statement that it had initiated consultation with employees regarding its plans for the site.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube reacted quickly to the rumours, assigned a team of officials to meet refinery management to gain clarity on the situation.

She has also tasked the CEO of Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN ) Neville Matjie with discussing the matter with Engen and has briefed the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Council on the matter.

She said Engen remained a key player and a leader of the downstream South African petroleum market. And that its recovery would be part of the government’s economic transformation and reconstruction plan.

She added that TIKZN has embarked on a business retention and extension programme that aims to support businesses that “are weak but that have sound foundations”.

“We remain determined to work with companies such as Engen to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in sectors such as oil and gas – maritime industry. We have no doubt that when oil rigs start visiting our coastline on a regular basis, this industry will grow exponentially,” she said.

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