South African Gas Stations Risk Fuel Shortages From Strike

  • Sasol, Sapref have measures in place to minimize disruptions
  • PetroSA says that its operations aren’t affected by strike

More than 20,000 workers in South Africa’s petroleum industry started a strike over wages Thursday, affecting refineries and depots and potentially leading to shortages of fuel at filling stations, a union representative said.

Members of the South African Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union want an increase of 9 percent and a minimum basic monthly wage of 8,000 rand ($560), Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining for the group, said by phone. Companies including Sasol Ltd., Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s Engen, Chevron Corp. and Total SA are offering a 7 percent improvement in pay.

“Sasol has put contingency plans in place to ensure the minimum disruption,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “Operations continue as planned with no impact on production.”

Sapref, which processes 180,000 barrels of crude daily and is South Africa’s largest refinery, has measures in place to “ensure continued safe operation” during the strike, it said in an e-mailed statement. The facility is in the port city of Durban and is co-owned by BP Plc’s southern African unit and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

State-owned PetroSA Ltd., which processes the equivalent of 45,000 barrels daily at its natural-gas to liquid fuels plant, hasn’t been affected by the strike, spokesman Thabo Mabaso said by phone. “Everything is per normal we haven’t seen any problems or difficulties.”

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