ENERGY: R140m Rail Gantry to Secure Future Fuel Supply for BP
Recent Gauteng Business News
BP today celebrated the completion of a R140-million expansion project of its Pretoria-based fuel storage facility, which will ensure ongoing security of supply for the company’s petroleum products from the coast to its inland customers.
There was applause all round from BP logistics service providers, customers and staff today when the facility, which is one of Africa’s largest rail loading and offloading gantries, was officially opened.
The magnitude of the project, which took 23-months to complete, will significantly improve and accelerate the rail transport of BP fuel to Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and the Limpopo Provinces.
In celebrating the launch of its new rail decanting and loading facility, BP also announced plans to invest further in the current year. The company plans to install an additional 10-million-litre diesel storage tank at the same depot later this year to further ensure it can support the growth in the economy and help ensure uninterrupted fuel supply into the inland region. Construction of this project will commence during the second half of the year.
Sipho Maseko, BPSA CEO says the investment in new infrastructure and storage aims to assist in easing the fuel supply challenges facing South Africa.
“The development is aligned with government’s objectives on security of supply and investment in infrastructure to ensure the country is positioned for growth as per the National Growth Plan.
The secure and consistent supply of energy is crucial for economic growth”, he said, adding that, “without investment in infrastructure, the economy will not grow at the rate which we all aspire to.” The investment is further evidence of BP’s confidence in South Africa, which is viewed as a key growth market for the group.
“The gantry will assist us to cope with increased fuel demands in the future. We are now able to decant 36 tankers at a time instead of 20, which increases offloading capacity by a significant 80%”, he notes.
The facility will also play a major role in addressing the capacity deficit caused by pipeline constraints as it provides another option for the company to move its products from the ports to inland areas.
An estimated 10 million-litre per week pipeline deficit across the industry is predicted for 2011 and according to experts, if BP’s new rail is leveraged fully, it could meet up to 60% of the industry shortfall.
Maseko says the project has proven itself to be a wonderful vehicle for job creation, local training and empowerment and all contractors were accredited to ensure a sound understanding of BP’s safety regulations.
“In accordance with our ongoing commitment to local business, we have utilised only local expertise as far as labour, material and project management are concerned”, he says.
Also in accordance with BP’s focus on safety the rail facility is equipped with a structural steel frame to make it safer when working at elevated positions. A special system has also been installed to ensure safe shunting and placing of rail tankers to eliminate human interface.
BP is the 3rd largest supplier of fuel in SA and its storage facility in Pretoria handles up to 40% of its total fuel supply.
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