Welding and construction equipment-related supplier Renttech South Africa (SA) sees prospects for the synfuels industry improving, as the recent depressed period - owing to the decline globally in hydrocarbon fuel prices - has seen the petrochemicals industry focusing on efficient maintenance, says welding and construction equipment supplier Renttech SA MD Duncan Whitehead.
“With the upward trend of oil prices, the key role-players in this industry will also be encouraged to revisit their expansion projects that were delayed, owing to the low oil prices in recent years,” he notes.
For South Africa to grow and prosper, he explains that the country needs to have an efficient, cost-competitive local petrochemicals industry.
“Efficient maintenance is a major key to achieving this goal. For this reason, Renttech has always seen its service to this sector as a top priority.”
There have been a lot of changes in the quality and grades of fuels over the past twenty years, which Whitehead explains is evident from the new vehicle fuel requirements, which, in turn, are driven by local as well as international environmental and emissions control policies.
“All our diesel generators, compressors and lighting plants are, however, able to run on a lower-grade diesel, which we still find tends to be popular in the construction industry from a cost perspective, as well as further afield in neighbouring countries,” he adds.
Over the past two decades, Whitehead explains that the company - now part of Bidvest Group’s Commercial Products division - has garnered extensive experience and expertise in the synfuels and petrochemicals sector by supplying tailored solutions regarding equipment, logistics and consumables.
“These solutions, combined with our experienced project team and quality suppliers, ensure a positive outcome for owners and contractors. Renttech works diligently to maintain and continuously improve its customer service excellence and extend its long-held reputation within these industry sectors,” he enthuses.
Within these industries, Whitehead explains that refineries need to be able to handle fairly aggressive liquids and gases, which are under heat and pressure.
He notes that in this type of environment, using the correct equipment is also integral to successful maintenance.
He further points out that the main challenge that equipment suppliers – such as Renttech – face, particularly in renting equipment to the petrochemical industry, is that there is a sharp peak in demand during shutdown times.
“Fortunately, Renttech has grown over the years and has built up sufficient rental inventory so that it can supply the equipment needs of a refinery shutdown without too much difficulty,” he outlines.
He further adds that Renttech also mitigates this challenge through close consultation with its petrochemical industry partners and suppliers to be able to anticipate and stock the correct type and quantities of equipment, as well as consumables, well before the shutdown starts.
Whitehead mentions that equipment purchases should remain stable for the most part of 2018, as they have also remained stable this year.
He explains that the equipment solutions are targeted at customers within the construction and shutdown projects dealing with refinery owners, energy performance certificate contractors and core subcontractors, as well as fabrication companies involved in the petrochemicals, synthetic fuels and power generation sectors.
However, he concludes that these solutions depend on the type and duration of a project, whether a greenfield project or maintenance projects on existing infrastructure.