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PetroSA to invest in desalination plant

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 May 2010

State-owned oil company PetroSA is to invest R80 million in the construction of a 200 cubic metre an hour desalination plant. The construction of the plant would alleviate the impact of drought in Mossel Bay and the southern Cape, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Wolwedans Dam is used by Petro SA to operate the GTL refinery

“The plant will provide five mega-litres of water per day, and should address PetroSA’s water requirements for operating its gas-to-liquid (GTL) refinery in Mossel Bay,” said PetroSA.

It would join forces with the Mossel Bay municipality in an attempt to desalinate sea-water for use by both the company and the town. “It is envisaged that the desalination plant should be operational by November 2010,” it said.

The Mossel Bay Municipality said the town was facing its worst drought in 130 years. “The drought has reached such critical proportions that the Eden District area of the southern Cape has been declared a disaster area,” it said.

The water level in the Wolwedans Dam, which PetroSA uses to operate the GTL refinery, was at 12,5 percent and it was projected that no more water would be available by October 2010.

PetroSA said in had introduced several measures in the past couple of months to save water and manage water usage in Mossel Bay. These included recycling 60 cubic metres an hour of storm water at a cost of R8m and recycling 170 cubic metres an hour of treated effluent. There had also been a R22.5-million investment in an effluent water purification project run by the Mossel Bay municipality.

“These improvements are significant for the 600 cubic metres per hour water requirement of the GTL refinery and should mitigate the water supply risk to the refinery,” PetroSA said. The oil company said it had also encouraged its employees to participate in the water saving campaign by reporting any potable water and firewater leaks for immediate repair.

The desalination plant would be constructed at PetroSA’s logistics base, close to the Mossel Bay harbour. The logistics base lay-down area was large enough to accommodate the desalination plant and already had power supply, PetroSA said.

The area was also in close proximity to the GTL refinery water supply line and had suitable sea conditions for water extraction.

– Sapa

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