The Petroleum Industry in South Africa
The liquid fuels sector is dominated by private petroleum companies, as well as the state-owned Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA). According to the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), the fuel sector contributes about 6% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) while supplying some 18% of South Africa’s primary energy needs through annual sales of around 31 billion litres of liquid fuels. Investment in South Africa’s aging refineries is necessary to avoid widening the trade deficit for liquid fuels. With advanced technology available in South Africa, biofuels have the potential to contribute towards closing the trade deficit.
The gas discovery by Total South Africa, 175km off the southern coast in the Brulpadda block, is expected to drive major new upstream oil activity offshore and attract investment into the sector. There is also increased activity in the biofuels industry which can generate significant employment, attract foreign investment and, over time, contribute towards local fuel production that will reduce imports. Over time, demand for liquid fuel used in vehicles will diminish as electric and hybrid vehicles begin to make their presence felt. Clean fuel standards and new legislation including carbon tax are precipitating change in the industry.
This report focuses on the manufacture of petroleum products from crude oil and natural gas in South Africa, as well as the wholesale and retail trade of the products. Information on the manufacture of lubricating oils and greases, primarily from other organic products, as well as the manufacture of other petroleum/synthesised products is also included. There are comprehensive profiles of 75 companies including major players such as Sasol, PetroSA, Engen, Shell and BP. There are also profiles on companies such as Astron Energy, in which Glencore acquired a 75% stake, and Efora Energy, formerly SacOil, whose R210m loan from the Public Investment Corporation has been the subject of political interference allegations.