Local gas suppliers running on empty

2011-07-28 00:00

ALL gassed out and no end in sight. That’s the situation for local liquid petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers in the city.

“Everybody is shouting and everyone wants gas,” said Johan van Niekerk at Autobahn in Hayfields.

Van Niekerk said he is turning away about 50 to 70 customers a week.

“It’s a problem” and it is “because of the strike” in the the chemical and fuel sector.

Hilton Gas Worx owner Ina Smith said they are working on a cylinder-for-cylinder situation.

“There is still a cylinder shortage, the situation hasn’t changed,” she said.

They can only refill cylinders that are compatible with those filled by their suppliers.

Smith said she does not know how long the shortage will continue, and that it is difficult to maintain supplies in the cold weather.

An unnamed proprietor of a gas outlet said he is waiting for supplies.

“There’s no gas, there’s nothing.” He said he has no idea when it will change and with a defeated laugh said supplies would likely resume “when winter is over”.

Easigas spokesperson Lorraine van Wyk said the fuel strike has affected business. Her company is “looking much better” than at the beginning of the month when it was still awaiting imported gas. Van Wyk said supplies will last until October, but the company is not “working to 100%” capability at this stage.

Afrox spokesperson Simon Miller said there continues to be an LPG shortage nationally. The refineries can not produce sufficient amounts for local demands, he said.

Afrox is still waiting for its imported gas, which is on schedule to land at the end of this month. The ship transporting the gas will dock at Richards Bay, but is currently off the coast of Mauritius in rough seas.

The delivery should “help subsidise local demand for the next couple of weeks” and they are in discussion to get more soon.

A problem is there are not enough ships in local areas to cater to the high demand, Miller said.

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