Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 25 August 2010
PetroSA has reassured Mossel Bay residents that its gas-to-liquids refinery, which provides about 3000 jobs in the town, will not close down despite predictions that the plant will run out of water by the end of October due to the prolonged drought in the Southern Cape.
Spokesman Thabo Mabaso said the company had budgeted more than R100-million for water augmentation schemes, including a massive desalination plant which would help meet not only the plant’s needs but also those of the town. The plant should come on stream by the end of January next year.
Last week municipal manager Dr Michelle Gratz said the level of the Wolwedans Dam had dropped to below 20% and the dam would run dry by January if no significant rains fell.
Although the town and PetroSA each have a 50% allocation of dam water, if the level drops to 10% or below, PetroSA may not extract water.
However, Gratz said water could be extracted from the Hartbeeskuil Dam, which although too brackish for human consumption, was suitable for industrial use.
Other water augmentation programmes in the town include boreholes and a waste water recycling plant for PetroSA. Gratz said the town already had an agreement in place with nearby George to rail water in for the December holiday season if needs be.
Western Cape Finance and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde said the closure issue was raised in a meeting with members of the legislature, who were on an oversight visit to the town.
According to reports, a senior official at the plant said the refinery could shut down due to the water crisis.
The plant produces about 30000 barrels of oil a day and supplies about 7% of the country’s domestic fuel.
Winde told a poverty conference in Plettenberg Bay that 25000 jobs had been lost in the Eden district in the last financial quarter, due in part to the drought and in part to industrial labour action.
By: Janine Oelofse
Source: Weekend Post