Tankers ready off South Africa to maintain diesel power

The decades-long decay in energy infrastructure which had led to recent power cuts on a regular basis, further damaging the South African economy, is now being fought by South Africa through employing tankers nearshore to supply poil to diesel generators.

Diesel-fired turbine, which typically have been intended for peak use, are now being used to meet ordinary day-to-day demand. State-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd’s poorly maintained coal plants remain susceptible to frequent breakdowns. South Africa also does not have enough storage capacity onshore. This has prompted the use of vessels off the southern coast near Mossel Bay as temporary storage facilities.

“As there is limited storage, PetroSA has taken a process of using floating tankers to ensure that product is readily available as and when required according to forecasts as agreed with Eskom,” the state-owned oil company said in a letter to stakeholders dated October 18th. There were four tankers designated to deliver diesel to PetroSA “to supply key customers” and one carrying gasoline, it said.  

There were six tankers offshore Mossel Bay on Friday, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.