FFS Refiners To Expand Bulk Bitumen Handling In South Africa
The company will invest US$19.3 million in the expansion project.
FFS Refiners, a hydrocarbon solutions company, is investing US$19.3 million (R350 million) into expanding the existing bulk bitumen storage and handling facility of FFS Tank Terminals in South Africa. That will boost the bulk import of bitumen, which is essential in road construction.
“I am confident that our facility will become the hub for bitumen import and other high flash oil-based products into Durban,” said Andrew Canning, FFS Refiners CEO. The expansion in two phases will involve building storage tanks with 26,500 m3, or 26.5-million litres capacity.
Phase 1 will be built for rental and includes three storage tanks with a total capacity of 7.5 million litres and will have two product heating facilities, an import pipeline, two loading gantries, and two weighbridge facilities. This phase is underway, with an expected completion date of September 2023, but the engineering design work has been completed. Civil and tank fabrication contractors have been selected locally to prioritise job creation.
Phase 2 has the design stage ongoing, with a completion date of November 2024. It will include storage tanks of 19-million-litre capacity.
“We already have interest from several potential customers for storage services. Once commitments and regulatory authorisations are obtained, we can commence with the construction activities,” said Mbuseleni Zulu, FFS Tank Terminals business division manager.
The project will be at the Maydon Wharf to avoid the congestion currently experienced at the Island View Complex. “The FFS Tank Terminals at Maydon Wharf is less congested and offers easier access and therefore an opportunity to escape the delays by choosing the Maydon Wharf facility instead,” said Mbuseleni.
Upon completion of the expansion project, the staff count of FFS Tank Terminals is expected to grow by 20 permanent members. Its parent company, FFS Refiners, currently employs over 400 people. This was because of the acquisition of OTGC Terminals.
“The acquisition of OTGC Terminals was borne from FFS Refiners’ anticipation of the closure of local refineries. We saw an opportunity with the contraction and closure of the refineries. This acquisition unlocks a sustainable revenue stream from storage rentals to third-party tenants and ensures steady import feedstock options for our traditional markets,” Canning said.
Rubis Asphalt, one of the largest bitumen importers in the country, has agreed with FFS Tank Terminals to be the anchor tenant. “Following our successful venture in Cape Town, FFS Refiners and Rubis Asphalt have again joined hands to develop a dedicated bitumen import and storage terminal at the Port of Durban. The long-term storage agreement between the two companies demonstrates Rubis’ commitment to the South African asphalt and road construction industry,” said Mark Simonsen, Rubis’ Asphalt’s commercial manager.
Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, Port of Durban port Manager, welcomed the investment into the country’s ports and confirmed the role of the port as a catalyst for economic growth and development for the region and the entire country.
Top Photo: FFS storage tanks (ffs-refiners.com)