Independent KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) lubricants vendor KZN Oils reports that it has acquired an additional 2,4-million litres of petrochemicals storage capacity in the province to bring its total storage capacity to more than 12-million litres.
The company has acquired two oil terminals from global oil giant Chevron. One is located in Empangeni and the other in Newcastle.
Company CEO Rajen Reddy says that the Empangeni depot is in a fully operational state, while the Newcastle depot is in need of refurbishment, owing to its being dormant for a number of years.
“We plan to have the Newcastle depot in operation by April. The company will use the newly acquired depots to function as bridging between Durban and inland locations. We will manage smaller deliveries from the inland depots and handle larger deliveries directly from Durban,” he says.
Reddy explains that KZN Oils has a partnership history of about eight years with Chevron, and that this has resulted in it systematically acquiring a number of Chevron’s surplus assets, as the company’s own business volumes increase.
Meanwhile, the level-one black economic-empowerment (BEE) company reports that it has produced its own brand of lubricants and has also procured a reliable supply of base oils from Chevron.
This has necessitated that the company seeks and acquires more storage facilities to maintain a steady supply of oils to the market.
Although KZN Oils is developing its own brand specifications for its lubricants, which contain the Oronite additive and increases the quality and performance of its oils, the company is outsourcing the blending of oils to a South African Bureau of Standards-approved oil blender.
However, the company still manages the quality control procedures and equipment being used. Reddy adds that the quality of its products is guaranteed by taking samples from every batch of oil produced and having them tested in a laboratory.
Further, Reddy reports that, owing to government’s renewed drive to implement BEE policies, the company has won a number of State tenders for the supply of petro- chemicals. “The company has just been awarded a Transnet group tender for the supply of 32% of the parastatal’s petrochemi- cals requirements for the third consecutive year. This includes supplying about 40% of the fuel required by KZN’s harbours,” he says.
The positive outlook generated by the increased volumes of supply has led the company to acquire more trucks for the transport of diesel, petrol and illuminating paraffin. To date, the company has acquired ten road tankers from Chevron and is poised to double the number of tankers in its fleet by year-end.
Reddy says that the fuel tankers are being maintained in an exceptional roadworthy condition, with all retreaded tyres being removed, and the vehicles’ wiring and lighting systems being overhauled. All external light fixtures, except the headlights, have also been replaced by light-emitting diode lights to improve vehicle visibility.
Meanwhile, the company reports that it has also acquired a self-propelled barge, the Black Egret, which is being used to deliver distillate bunker fuels to ships calling at the Durban and Richards Bay harbours.
Reddy says that KZN Oils remains the sole independent oil vendor to operate a barge for refuelling ships in South Africa. The barge has a carrying capacity of about 1,4-million litres of fuel and allows for cleaner fuels to be burned in ports, instead of bunker fuels, in which the sulphur content in emissions can be as high as 1%.
Further, Reddy reports that the company undertakes vigo- rous environment monitoring to look after the wellbeing of its operating surroundings and its employees. Soil samples are regu- larly collected at the company’s various depots and analysed for any signs of contamination.
“We also value the skills our employees have and demon- strated this by incorporating all the staff previously employed by Chevron, as our own when we acquired the oil terminals,” Reddy concludes.