Countrywide shortage of gas

2011-10-20 09:10

There is a shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in South Africa due to unplanned shutdowns in the local oil refinery industry, Afrox said.

“We have always worked closely with our LPG suppliers, but no one could have foreseen the extent of the unplanned shutdowns experienced by South Africa’s petroleum industry,” the LPG distributor said in a statement.

Afrox said the shortage had been confirmed by the SA Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), which represents the oil refinery sector.

Some parts of the country had completely run out of LPG – a by-product of the oil refining process.

A number of refineries were on planned maintenance shutdowns, while others were on unplanned shutdowns due to technical difficulties, Afrox said.

“Sapia could not give any timelines as to when full production from refineries will normalise.”

The shortage was affecting the hospitality, manufacturing and automotive sectors. Afrox said there was “little prospect of recovering the situation in the immediate term”.

“Even importing product has its difficulties, namely the costs involved, uncertain scheduling as its imported by sea, and inland facilities in which to store imported product once landed are limited.

These issues make LPG imports a last measure instead of a first response.”

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