With consumers trying to adjust to constant loadshedding, gas users are now facing a severe gas shortage in the Western Cape. The shortfall occurs every year during the winter season. The fact that the country has been plagued by load shedding has further increased the demand for gas and the gas supply has run out.
More gas companies in the Cape Town region have closed for the period as they are not able to meet customer’s demands. VOC News made some calls to gas businesses in the city and were told that there is no current gas stocks.
Demand for gas in the Western Cape is said to be between 8 500 tons to 10 000 tons a month and an estimated 3 500 tons of gas were imported a month by road to the Western Cape.
Abdul Kader, the owner of Al Kadr gas company in Observatory says this winter has been the worst as there has been a shortage for over two months already. He feels that the shortage could be because gas companies in South Africa are selling their gas to overseas companies.
“Last week I had to close my shop because I could not accommodate the community. It’s not only my business though, other businesses are also being affected,” Kader said.
Durbanville gas company has also experienced the same shortages for the past three months and have not yet been told when the gas supply from the refineries would increase.
Kader feels that government is to blame for the gas shortage as they are not seeing to the consumer’s needs.
“If we as a community must come together to do our own investigation into the shortages,” Kader said.
In order to obtain gas at this stage Kader has to manually fetch his gas from a refinery located in Kuilsriver. He adds that this gas is being imported.
Avhapfani Tshifularo, executive director for the South African Petroleum Industry Association says it will take time before the gas supply will be increased. Tshifularo attributes the winter season as one of the main causes of the gas shortage as the demand is said to be high every year during this season.
“Further interruptions on the refinery side seem to be causing disruptions in the production of gas,” Tshifularo explained.
But Tshifularo was sceptical about gas being sold to overseas companies.
“I can’t see that happening because there is a demand for gas here, thus it doesn’t make economic sense to sell gas to overseas consumers when consumers are in need of it here,” Tshifularo went further.
Tshifularo says that after winter there will be an increase in the gas supply as the refinery situation seems to be improving. VOC (Umarah Hartley)