Mozambique: Work on SA oil pipeline delayed until November

11 August 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 11 Aug – Construction of an oil pipeline from the port of Matola in Mozambique to Nelspruit in South Africa has been put back from September to November due to delays in approving an environmental impact study, the Noticias newspaper reported.

Citing Mariana Nieuwoudt, communications consultant for the venture, the article said the final version of the environment impact report was sent to the Pretoria authorities last week to opening a period of public consultation on the project.

The 450 kilometer pipeline will have an annual capacity of 3.5 million cubic meters of fuel and is expected to begin operating in 2011, according to Petroline Holdings, the Mozambican-South African consortium leading the project.

Plans to build the transnational pipeline, explained Nieuwoudt, first emerged following serious fuel supply difficulties in South Africa from the end of 2005 that seriously impacted on various sectors of the economy.

A study commissioned by Pretoria recommended the building of the pipeline to reduce risk of fuel shortages to the interior regions such as Gauteng, Limpopo, Mphumalanga, the Free State and North West, not only due to the threats from rising global crude costs but also deficiencies in transport and storage capacities.

With total investment of US$ 537 million, the pipeline project, involving a 64 kilometer section to the South African border, another stretch of 135 kilometers to Nelspruit and a 249 kilometer section to the Kendal region, will also modernize fuel terminals at the port of Matola. (macauhub)