The Energy Department has expressed concern over the availability of jet fuel for airports, following Sasol’s announcement of a force majeure on petroleum products due to delayed shipments.
Sasol Oil was forced to temporarily shut down the South African Natref refinery over the weekend.
The company asserted that the delays were beyond its control and had an impact on the availability of crude oil feedstock for Natref’s processing, which resulted in the refinery’s temporary closure.
According to Tseliso Maqubela of the department, gasoline, and petrol were unaffected.
“There is the ability to import fuel in the country. We’ve always planned for such an eventuality, but I think the impact on jet fuel because this was not expected and is something we’re going to have to look at,” Maqubela said.
According to Sasol, a crude tanker has since arrived in Durban, and Natref should resume normal operations by the end of this month.
The nation’s largest fuel producer, Sasol South Africa, declared force majeure on the supply of petroleum products due to delays in crude deliveries to the Natref refinery, which it jointly owns with TotalEnergies SE, leaving only a small portion of the nation’s fuel production capacity still operational.
The company declared in a statement that Natref, a 108,000 barrel per day plant, was forced to close as a result of the delayed oil imports.
“Sasol Oil will not be in a position to fully meet its commitments on the supply of all petroleum products from July 2022,” the firm said.
After several other facilities suspended production over the past two years, the shutdown implies that the entire South African oil refinery fleet is no longer operational.
According to a May estimate by energy expert Citac, as a result, the nation’s monthly imports of petroleum products from pre-pandemic levels are anticipated to increase by as much as thrice by next year.
Only a fifth of the nation’s capacity the synthetic fuel operations run by Sasol, which use coal as a feedstock, remain fully operating.