A private port terminal operator has been selected to build and operate South Africa’s first offshore supply base (OSSB) at the Port of Saldanha, in the Western Cape. The facility, which will involve investments of R1.8-billion over the coming five years, will provide services to offshore oil and gas companies operating along Africa’s coastline.
The OSSB is to be developed by Saldehco, owned by private investment group HARPS Holdings, which has energy, property and marine interests in several countries, as well as black-women-owned energy company Semona.
Saldehco has been selected for a 20-year concession period following a competitive bidding process conducted by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), which is mandated to concession port terminals to private operators in line with Section 56 of the National Ports Act.
Having reached financial close, the facility is expected to begin offering basic services within a year of the signing of the terminal operator agreement.
As port landlord and planner, TNPA is providing berth infrastructure for the OSSB at the port’s general maintenance quay. Saldehco, meanwhile, is responsible for providing warehousing, workshops, office facilities, as well as equipment such as cranes and other rubber-tyred equipment to operate the terminal.
The OSSB will offer services to vessels supporting offshore exploration and production activities along the West and East coasts of Africa.
Speaking at a signing ceremony in Saldanha on Monday, Saldehco, chairperson Sophie Masipa said the facility would provide fabrication of offshore structures, as well as a range of other services, from the provision of marine bunkers and lubricants to fresh water.
TNPA CEO Shulami Qalinge said the OSSB would position Saldanha as an oil and gas services hub, while Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama said the concession would change the economic landscape of the local, regional and national economy.
The OSSB would operate within the country’s first special economic zone (SEZ) located at a commercial port.
The SEZ will be operated by the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licencing Company, which recently concluded a commercial development lease agreement for the development of various pockets of land, totalling 35 ha in the port.