Wanted: Partner for quick restart of PetroSA refinery, preferably from an oil rich country

The PetroSA Refinery in Mossel Bay.

PetroSA is seeking partners to assist in the refurbishment and restart of its Mossel Bay Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) refinery, with the aim of bringing full production back online as quickly as possible.

After nearly 30 years of operation, production of gasoline, diesel and other value-added products from the refinery ceased in 2020 as offshore gas and condensate feedstocks dried up.

PetroSA is now aiming to resume full production “at the earliest opportunity at the lowest cost”. This seems to be a target-oriented solution in advance of a “long-term raw material solution that is under development and is expected to supply raw materials to enable full production capacity from 2027/2028”.

The state-owned company hopes to secure new gas from Brulpadda and Luiperd — two significant offshore discoveries TotalEnergies made in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

However, as these projects are expected to be commissioned after 2026, PetroSA has invited bidders to offer solutions for faster supply of raw materials as part of its call for proposals.

The move to accelerate PetroSA’s restart of production from its 36,000 barrels per day refinery comes as South Africa’s fuel imports surged to record levels following the closure of several refineries.

Also, loss-making PetroSA needs to be stabilized before being incorporated into a new National Petroleum Company that will be merged with iGas and the Strategic Fuel Fund.

PetroSA says that “government or government-backed oil and gas companies from oil and gas producing nations with access to raw materials and their own financial resources to undertake the project are preferred.”

The semi-public company wants a turnkey solution from design to commissioning, including financing and raw material security; “However, other useful combinations are desirable and are also being considered by PetroSA,” it said.

In terms of schedule, projects that can be delivered by 2023 score well, while projects that can only be delivered after 2025 receive no points.

Preference is given to companies with proven and formalized relationships with oil and gas producing nations, as well as developers who are able to fund the development at risk up to the Financial Investment Decision (FID) and reimburse development costs only after financial close.

The closing date for entries is February 20th.

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