The facility will store LPG on behalf of independent LPG specialist Petredec, which ships the fuel from the US and the Middle East. LPG is produced as a by-product in the oil refining process.
Petredec sought an import facility specifically on South Africa’s East Coast, and Richards Bay was seen as the most suitable port to handle this capacity. Being able to receive larger shipments also makes product handling more cost effective, reducing overall logistics costs.
The port is also on Petredec’s shipping route and in close proximity to the main rail and road logistics routes going inland, particularly as most of the LPG will be used in Gauteng, the Free State and the North West. This logistics infrastructure is also of high quality.
Replacement Energy Source
BTT and Petredec are confident that there is demand for LPG, BTT MD David Leisegang tells Engineering News.
The companies believe that the greatest demand will stem from LPG’s use as a replacement energy source, such as a substitute for wood or paraffin for heating and cooking. The use of these energy sources is still quite prevalent in South Africa, especially in informal settlements and areas where there is not any reliable access to electricity.
Leisegang emphasises that the health benefits of LPG are “considerable”, compared with the energy sources mentioned, as are its safety credentials, as “many of the fires in informal settlements are [the result of] cooking with these sources of fuel”.
LPG has been identified by the World Bank as the most environment friendly of all fossil fuels; therefore, the facility is expected to assist in providing a viable, reliable, safer and more environment- friendly energy alternative.