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South Africa’s largest refinery – the 180,000 barrels a day (b/p) SAPREF plant in Durban – is currently restarting after a temporary shutdown prompted by the unrest in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

In a statement issued yesterday (20 July), SAPREF said that the start-up process is beginning today and will take between seven and 10 days to complete.

SAPREF said that it decided to shut down the refinery when ‘key materials to continue running the facility could not be delivered due to supply chain disruptions caused by the civil unrest’.

However, the company added: ‘With key delivery routes open and materials supply secured; SAPREF can now restart the refinery.’

SAPREF’s MD Victor Bester commented: ‘At SAPREF, safety is our number one priority. We have plans in place to ensure a safe start-up with little impact to our neighbouring communities.’

Owned 50/50 by Shell and bp, SAPREF accounts for 35% of South Africa’s refining capacity and is an important source of product for the bunker market.

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