Sasol's Secunda complex (Credit: Sasol)

Massive natural gas finds in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin could have a big impact on the economy of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. The province is already equipped with energy and fuel infrastructure and expertise.

The Liquefied Natural Gas Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (LNG IPPPP) is part of the broader programme of the National Department of Mineral Resources and Energy which encourages private investment in renewable energy, namely the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The total allocated to gas-to-power in the national power plan is 3 726 MW, of which 3 000 MW is for LNG.

The new gas from Mozambique could be shipped as liquefied natural gas to Maputo and continue from there to the Sasol plant at Secunda via the existing Rompco pipeline.

The promoters of the Nkomazi Special Economic Zone believe that the fact that the pipeline passes through the SEZ is a big selling point. An alternative would be for the LNG to be shipped to Richards Bay before being piped north.

Many of the big mining and manufacturing concerns in Mpumalanga have long-term contracts for the supply of gas with big gas companies. Afrox and Air Liquide are two of the biggest, with the latter having 3 500 national customers, which include Sappi and Sasol.

International chemicals and energy company Sasol has several large plants in Mpumalanga and plays a major role in the economy of Mpumalanga.

Sasol’s operations at Secunda are among the most important manufacturing facilities in Mpumalanga province. Sasol Gas is one of the four Sasol operations at Secunda. (Credit: Sasol)

Sasol Gas is one of the four Sasol operations at Secunda, supplying natural gas to Sasol Synfuels and buying Sasol Synfuels’ methane-rich pipeline gas to sell to customers in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Sasol and the provincial government have commissioned a technical feasibility study for a Petrochemical Technology Park to be located in the province.

Sasol will be a key player when national government finalises policy on biofuels. Sasol is already making 285 000 kilolitres of absolute alcohol in ethanol from sugar fermentation annually. About 60-million litres of liquid fuel is produced each day at the coal-to-liquid plant run at Secunda. Sasol has finished its mine replacement programme and feedstock is secure until the year 2050.

Another part of the REIPPPP covers the conversion of biomass to energy. At Sappi’s Ngodwana mill, a 25 MW project is underway.

Transnet Pipelines runs a 3 800 km network of underground, high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines throughout the eastern parts of South Africa. The company’s sophisticated multi-product pipeline (NMPP) between the coast and Gauteng transports a range of liquid products.

More resources:

Independent Power Producers Programme: www.ipp-projects.co.za
Petroleum Agency SA: www.petroleumagencysa.com
PetroSA: www.petrosa.co.za

See also: Phindile Masangane appointed as new CEO for Petroleum Agency SA