Today I have briefed the KZN Economic Council about our efforts aimed at turning around the situation following a report in the Mercury today suggesting that Engen Oil Refinery is considering closing its doors in 2023.
The Mercury further states that the facility may be converted into a fuel storage facility for imported products.
As indicated to the reporter yesterday, I have assigned the CEO of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) Neville Matjie to engage with Engen to look into this matter.
This forms part of the implementation of economic transformation and reconstruction plan.
With the support of the KZN Executive Council, TIKZN has adopted a business support, retention and extension programme, which focusses on:
• Supporting businesses that are weak but that have sound foundations and can become viable through accessing existing short-term industrial policy support programmes to contain further job losses and protect important production capabilities;
• Supporting new businesses to emerge through a dedicated programme of support to new or young businesses as they are more vulnerable than larger older established businesses to shocks and harsh economic conditions; and
• Supporting existing businesses need to expand by creating an environment that is conducive to new investment.
TIKZN will also focus on the key interventions that are catered for in the KZN Growth and Development Plan which are to ensure that we:
• Improve access to economic development funding;
• Facilitate statutory development approval processes in support of new investments through the Provincial One-Stop Shop;
• Raise awareness on key sectors and on support measures and improve the quality of programmes available in these sectors and in new sectors such as, presently those of the maritime and green economy;
• Improve performance monitoring of the value chain in key sectors within the KZN;
• Develop, diversify and market the tourism sector to increase domestic and foreign visitors in the Province;
• Develop and implement a green public procurement policy to help support local green businesses and implement the Provincial Green Economy Strategy.
Engine remains a key player and a leader of the downstream South African petroleum market. We are proud of the fact that this company is located in this province and on the South Durban Basin – where it contributes towards job creation.
Importantly, as KZN we potentially have access to the abundant resources of the ocean, including fisheries, offshore oil and gas and maritime tourism.
Our ports of Durban and Richards Bay handle over 60% of the country’s seaborne cargo. We remain determined to work with companies such as Engine to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in sectors such as Oil and Gas – Maritime Industry.
We believe that unexplored as it is, the Ocean’s Economy in all its variations, presents this province with endless opportunities.
We have no doubt that when oil rigs start visiting our coastline on a regular basis, this industry will grow exponentially.
I must hasten to point out that we also remain determined to position Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone as a site for energy infrastructure.
The importance of energy supply sector lies both in improving the quality of life for the previously disadvantaged majority as well as supporting large-scale industrial development.
In particular, the Oil and Gas industry presents many opportunities for partnerships in this province. Ahead of lockdown, statistics showed that the Oil and Gas industry employed an estimated 7 500 people and had an estimated annual turnover of over R196 billion, with the refining segment of the industry contribution almost 99% to the total industry’s turnover.
Moreover, the industry apparently accounted for approximately more than 90 000 indirect jobs in the distribution and marketing segment of the industry value chain.
Research indicated that LPG had a number of benefits in comparison to other energy sources like paraffin or wood.
It is considered by international organisations as more environment friendly and safer; and this facility brings certainty and reliability on the supply of a more environment-friendly energy source alternative.
We therefore want our RBIDZ to play a critical role in the Oil and Gas sector.
Source: Government of South Africa