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Minister: Reliance on foreign fuel rising

Jun 12 2012 14:06 Sapa

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Cape Town - South Africa's dependence on imported petrol, diesel and other liquid fuels is increasing, according to Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Tuesday, she said the country's refineries were not able to meet the demand for such products.

"The importation of petroleum products to South Africa is increasing annually. The country is a net importer and therefore relies on foreign refineries to meet local demand."

Local refineries were currently operating at 80 to 90% of their capacity.

"However, even if they were operating at optimal levels, they will still not be able to meet local demand for petroleum... which has exceeded domestic supply," Peters said.

According to a table included in the reply, the volume of imported petrol has increased from 2.09 billion litres in 2010, to 2.42 billion last year.

Diesel imports rose to 3.75 billion litres last year, from 2.57 billion litres the year before.

Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) imports rose from 3.75 million kilograms in 2010, to 19.67 million kilograms last year.

Peters said building a proposed new refinery at the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape would reduce the country's dependence on imports.

"The development of the Mthombo Project, PetroSA's new oil refinery initiative, is aimed, among other things, to reduce reliance on foreign refineries, to meet local demand," she said.

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