This follows after the petroleum products supplier Chevron announced it would be challenging the development of an independent fuel storage and distribution facility in the Port of Cape Town by oil storage company, Burgan Cape Terminals.
The exemption, granted by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning earlier this month via the Environmental Impact Assessment process, is part of Chevron’s goal to protect existing refinery jobs under threat from the development of the Burgan facility.
The exemption allows for Chevron to submit its refinery earnings under the condition of confidentiality to decision makers in order to support its economic argument.
(READ MORE: S.Africa's Western Cape may see an end to fuel shortages)
Chevron said the information was offered to Burgan under the same conditions of confidentiality but was rejected.
“The EIA process is crucial in this matter and we are encouraged by receiving this exemption. We appreciate the Department taking into account the commercial sensitivity contained in the financial information of companies such as ours,” said Nobuzwe Mbuyisa, chairperson at Chevron South Africa and the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA).
“We strongly believe that the information provided should be used to make an objective decision. The reality here is that local refinery jobs stand to be adversely affected in the long-term by the construction of an import facility.”
She added that the development of large import capabilities such as Burgan is a threat to 13 500 jobs at the Chevron refinery, and threatens the national refining industry as a whole.
“The impact can be mitigated via a fuels policy that balances the various competing priorities – increased fuels storage and competition on one hand, and a viable refining industry on the other,” said Mbuyia.
(WATCH VIDEO: NERSA approve Burgan Cape Terminals' licence application)
Chevron believes that the large-scale importing of clean fuels prior to investing in local manufacturing could have a disastrous economic and socioeconomic impact on the Western Cape Province and the broader South African economy as well as affect the viability of all domestic refineries and the security of supply.
“We welcome open competition in the construction of independent storage facilities and wholesalers in South Africa, combined with a regulatory environment which protects and promotes job creation and preservation in the best longstanding interests of South Africa,” added Mbuyisa.
“The future of South Africa’s economy and our struggling energy sector relies heavily on the country’s ability to strengthen its refining capability in the midst of unpredictable global market conditions. We are optimistic and dedicated to working with Government and the industry to look for sustainable solutions that will meet national market requirements and secure investment in our local refining industry.”