South Africa’s refinery closed for safety reasons

February 27th, 2008 - 10:48 pm ICT by admin  

Cape Town, Feb 27 (IANS) South Africa’s petroleum and gas major PetroSA has closed its Mossel Bay refinery for safety reasons following the discovery of a damaged gas pipe, BuaNews agency reported Wednesday. “The plant was closed at the weekend after a 100-mm crack appeared in our gas inlet pipe,” Sipho Mkhize, PetroSA chief executive officer, said adding that the supply of industrial gas and heavy fuel oil to customers will be disrupted until commissioning activities commence.

Announcing the refinery closure Tuesday, Mkhize said the outage was the result of a breakdown in the reformer common 30-inch line.

He said the decision to close the refinery came after a complete risk assessment, adding that safety was the company’s priority.

“On investigating the extent of the damage, we found that other key sections of the line needed repair, which required the company to source spares.

“Unfortunately, the manufacturer did not have these in stock, these spares have to be manufactured and it will take five days for delivery to PetroSA,” Mkhize explained.

He added that once they received the spares, it would take a week to repair the damage.

Meanwhile, the company is to embark on a massive drilling programme aimed at appraising existing gas and oil fields on the South of Mossel Bay.

State-owned gas major is a pioneer in the field of gas-to-liquid production and operates the world’s largest natural gas-to-liquids plant at Mossel Bay.

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