Lack of water won’t close PetroSA

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

Pray for rain every Wednesday at noon

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 August 2010

Mossel Bay’s water situation is “becoming bleaker by the day” and the municipality has called on residents to pray for rain every Wednesday at noon.

Water for industrial use will be abstracted from the Hartebeeskuil Dam, which is 38% full.

Municipal manager Michele Gratz said yesterday the town was “racing against time” to develop additional water sources, particularly the desalination plant that would supply 70% of the town’s needs.

The Wolwedans Dam, the town’s main supply of drinkable water, dropped to 18,5% this week and is set to run out of water by January if there is no rain before then.

If the dam level dropped to 10% or less, the Water Affairs Department said, only the municipality would be able to extract water. PetroSA’s gas-to-liquids refinery also extracts from the dam.

The municipality also had to investigate abstracting water for industrial use from the Hartebeeskuil Dam, which is 38% full.

The dam’s water is too brackish for human consumption, but can be purified at the reverse osmosis effluent purification plant at Hartenbos.

“It would, however, be costly to get the dam’s water to the plant because of the distance involved and it will also require the expansion of the recently completed plant,” Gratz said.

She said the immediate prospect for rain in the town, which has become the hardest-hit in the Garden Route’s worst drought in recorded history, remained unfavourable. Continue reading

Mossel Bay rain makes little difference to dam level

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 July 2010

The rain that fell last weekend was most welcome from an agricultural and gardening point of view, but the 31 mm received in the catchment area of the Wolwedans Dam was again unfortunately insufficient to make much of a difference to the level of the dam, says the Municipality in a news release on the water situation in Mossel Bay.

It is anticipated that the Wolwedans Dam will be empty by October 2010

The dam’s level rose by about 0,4%, which is equal to 100 megalitres of water and about three to four days of extraction from the dam by PetroSA, farmers and the Municipality. It is therefore still anticipated that the dam will be empty by October 2010, unless sufficient rain is received before then

Although the much smaller Ernst Robertson dam is more than 100% full, water from this dam is released into the Wolwedans Dam. The effect of the Ernst Robertson dam as well as the five megalitres a day of purified effluent water supplied to PetroSA from the newly commissioned Reverse Osmosis plant at Hartenbos has been taken into account in determining the date on which Mossel Bay is expected to run out of potable water at present consumption levels.

“The rains in June and July so far were obviously most welcome, but unfortunately did not buy us much extra time. It did, however, have the effect of generally greening the environment, and this may perhaps create a perception that the situation is not as serious as people are told. I, however, want to reiterate that the situation remains extremely serious and is in fact deteriorating. The water restrictions also remain in place. Continue reading

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