The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) is extremely pleased with the announcement by the Department of Energy at the South Africa Gas Options Conference held in Cape Town that Richards Bay is to be allocated approximately 2000 megawatts of the 3126 megawatts allocated to the Gas to Power (G2P) programme.
The CEO of RBIDZ, Mr Pumi Motsoahae says, “We believe the choice of Richards Bay was self-evident given the advantages of Richards Bay, in particular the availability of space for a berth for a floating storage and regasification unit (FRSU). The benefit of having substantial electrical capacity coming into the City to feed the Smelters and which can now be used to feed electricity back into the grid is also an advantage”.
Richards Bay also has the advantage of a high demand for power within the City and can also be used to feed gas via an existing gas line both down to Durban and Pietermaritzburg, as well as up to Gauteng.
The allocation will result in a multibillion rand investment in Richards Bay, in both a gas fired power station, as well as gas infrastructure to gasify liquefied natural gas brought into the harbour by ship and to pipe it to the power plant and other uses. It will also create the opportunity for new and existing industries in Richards Bay to make use of gas rather than electricity.
“The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) has been working for over two years to ensure that Richards Bay becomes the key gas port in South Africa and is delighted that the extensive work done has culminated in this announcement. We are especially pleased that the announcement was made in the presence of the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Honourable Sihle Zikalala, who attended the announcement in support of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and is fully committed to the development of the oil and gas industry in the province of KZN (Kwazulu-Natal)” Pumi alluded.
The announcement was also attended by the Mayor of the City of UMhlathuze, Councillor Mduduzi Mhlongo and the Municipal Manager Dr Nhlanhla Sibeko, as the City of UMhlathuze fully supports the development of the gas industry in Richards Bay.
The selection of Richards Bay as a gas port will not only support the development of an East Coast Gas corridor servicing the major potential gas markets in KZN but also in other Provinces such as Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and Limpopo. The announcement constitutes a mark of faith in the RBIDZ as the multi rand power plant will be located in the RBIDZ and will substantially increase investment in the Zone. The decision is a major coup for Richards Bay.