South Africa’s Biggest Refinery Shuts Down Due to Unrest

The 180,000 barrel-a-day facility was closed “due to the ongoing civil unrest and disruption of delivery and supply routes in and out of the KwaZulu-Natal Province,” the company said in an emailed response to questions. “This decision was taken after careful consideration of risks involved including the safety of our people” as well as operating without confirmed supply to the plant, it said.

Widespread looting and violence in Africa’s most industrialized nation has resulted in blocked roads and delays. Sasol Ltd., a chemical and fuel maker in South Africa reported disruptions to customer product deliveries, Sapref said.


13 July 202

Dear Sir / Madam


Due to the civil unrest in the country and disruption of supply routes in and out of Kwazulu-Natal, suppliers of materials critical to SAPREF operations communicated the suspension of deliveries to the refinery due to safety concerns for their staff and damages to their vehicles on the roads.

Without the said critical materials and with no clarity as to how long the unrest will last and normal supply resume, SAPREF is unable to sustain refinery operations. Consequently, SAPREF has been obliged to make the difficult decision to shut down the refinery.

As a result of the aforegoing, SAPREF hereby declares the occurrence of an event of force majeure, excusing SAPREF from performing under the agreement.

In the case of a complete shut down of the refinery, the continuation of your agreement with SAPREF on the same terms and conditions becomes impossible.

To this end, SAPREF is obliged to suspend and / or limit the scope of work under this agreement.

A SAPREF focal point will make contact with you to further communicate the impact of this notice on your resources and / or equipment on all SAPREF sites.

We trust that the need for this action in this critical time is appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Pensilla Blllat
SAPREF CONTRACTS & PROCUREMENT MANAGER (on behalf of Shell & BPS.A. Petroleum Refineries Pty Ltd)