Bay gas stor­age an in­vest­ment boon

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

In the wake of the City of uMh­lathuze be­ing ear­marked as a top busi­ness in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion by Alexan­der Forbes, Bid­vest last week an­nounced its R1-bil­lion LPG (Liq­ue­fied Petroleum Gas) stor­age tank pro­ject at the Port of Richards Bay.

There can be no doubt that such an in­vest­ment is pos­i­tive for the city’s econ­omy and that the fa­cil­ity will help in­crease South Africa’s us­age of a safer, more cost-ef­fec­tive fuel al­ter­na­tive.

As petrol, diesel and il­lu­mi­nat­ing paraf­fin prices soar to record highs, a re­li­able al­ter­na­tive is wel­comed.

But the LPG stor­age fa­cil­ity is not to be con­fused with the nat­u­ral gas for which oil and gas com­pa­nies want to drill off­shore.

LPG is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent com­mod­ity and that which is to be stored at the Port of Richards Bay will be im­ported from the USA and Mid­dle East.

There is no doubt that this pro­ject en­tailed much be­hind the scenes work and ne­go­ti­at­ing prior to se­cur­ing the site.

All stake­hold­ers in­volved, in­clud­ing Bid­vest, Pe­tre­dec, Transnet Na­tional Ports Au­thor­ity and the City of uMh­lathuze are to be ac­knowl­edged for the parts they played.

Us­age of LPG is grow­ing fast glob­ally and this fa­cil­ity will help South Africa fol­low the global trend in in­creas­ing its use of this gas ,which is widely con­sid­ered to be a safer and cleaner en­ergy al­ter­na­tive.

The knock-on ef­fect of this fa­cil­ity should also be noted as an in­crease in sup­ply will aid in job cre­ation, giv­ing rise to lo­cal LPG dis­trib­u­tors and sell­ers.

An­other ben­e­fit is that ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties will eas­ier gain ac­cess to a cheaper fuel.

This ma­jor in­vest­ment to the City of uMh­lathuze is tes­ta­ment to the fact that busi­nesses still con­sider Richards Bay, with its open spa­ces, good road and rail in­fra­struc­ture, and ob­vi­ously its port side lo­ca­tion a bet­ter in­vest­ment al­ter­na­tive to the likes of Dur­ban and Cape Town.It is es­pe­cially wel­come com­ing as soon as it does af­ter TNPA got the green light for its float­ing dry dock - which will be an­other pos­i­tive for em­ploy­ment seek­ers and sup­pli­ers.

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