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A new oil refinery for the Eastern Cape? March 16, 2007

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", Coega, Environment, News, South Africa, Sustainable Living.

If negotiations and pre-feasibility studies are successful, Coega, my favourite industrial development zone (not!), may soon be home to yet another multi-billion rand development. This time it’s a new oil refinery.

I guess we’re supposed to think that since they’re already building an aluminium smelter and a ferro-manganese smelter in the area, a little oil refinery won’t make much of a difference.

GroundWork, the KZN-based NGO, has done some really good work on the impact of oil refineries on people and the environment, especially in Durban. You can find their informative fact sheet on the subject here and download a great 22-page pdf booklet here. Actually, if you send me your postal address, I’ll mail you one of the booklets for free.

Speaking about Coega, the floating trophy for light comic relief goes to Mr Anthony Hunneyball from Walmer in Port Elizabeth. In a letter to The Herald (March 8, 2007), Mr Hunneyball writes:

Driving back from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth I was amazed to see the extent of street lighting in the vicinity of the Coega interchange. […]

This in the light (no pun intended) of global warming and excessive carbon emissions on the one hand, and the constant strain that Eskom is under to supply even normal electricity levels to our cities at present. […]

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support Mr Hunneyball’s sentiments, they just seem a little ironic in the light (no pun intended) of the massively increased carbon emissions and strain on electricity production that will ensue once those metal smelters are fired up.



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