South Africa has had its plate full of stressful situations in recent times. The serving? Outages. Beyond the traditional power outages we’ve all grown used to with great sighs, another kind of outage has the country up in arms – The Sasol outage.
Sasol, South Africa’s biggest producer of fuel has shut its refineries, leaving minimal margins for fuel production available.
As Bloomberg reports, the supply cut occurred after crude delivery delays to the Natref refinery Sasol owns with TotalEnergies. The Natref plant, usually responsible for 108 000 barrels a day was forced to shut, meaning that the “whole of South Africa’s oil-refinery fleet is out of action after a string of other facilities suspended production over the past two years,” added energy consultant Citcal.
Other factors causing refinery pauses include the explosion at the Glencore Plc Cape Town refinery which is expected to be operational in the second part of this year.
Given that oil is refined to produce petrol and diesel, many have questions regarding the impact on the country. Will we be having ‘loadshedding’ but for petrol and diesel? Will our stops at the garage (which are already shrouded in anxiety thanks to rising fuel prices) become even more strenuous?
In a turn of good fortune, it’s believed that despite SA not having any operating oil refineries, there will be no supply shortages at fuel stations according to a Sasol spokesperson who spoke to Fin24. Further, Sasol predicts that Natref will be back in business at full capacity by the end of July.
However, Sasol has been criticised for not wanting to give information about the delayed oil’s origin.
Motorists can wipe the sweat from their foreheads in knowing that we won’t be without fuel, but concern still exists surrounding the penny-pinch when it comes to filling up the tank. However, hope might be on the cards for August.
According to the Central Energy Fund’s mid-month data, we could see fuel prices drop in August. Petrol could drop by R1.08 per litre, diesel by 92-94 cents per litre, and illuminating paraffin by 95 cents per litre. Although the report indicates that the drops are not predictive, they still mark an inkling toward a better outcome.