SA seeks investors for R10bn Saldanha oil-services hub

27 January 2015

Tenders are being prepared for two major oil-services infrastructure projects, collectively valued at around R10-billion, for the deep-water Port of Saldanha,

on South Africa’s west coast.

The developments are being packaged as build, own, operate and transfer concessions and are being marketed jointly by the newly established Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licencing Company (SBIDZ) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

They also fall under the ocean-economy component of government’s wider Operation Phakisa (Operation Hurry Up) programme, and envisage transforming Saldanha Bay into a one-stop rig repair and oil services hub and with the new dedicated infrastructure to be in place by January 2018.

Requests for proposals (RFPs) will be issued for a 380-m-long, 21-m-deep rig-repair berth, or Berth 205, to service deep-water rigs, as well as a shallower 500-m jetty and repair facility to service a range of other vessels associated with oil and gas exploration and development.

Port manager Willem Roux says the intention is to identify preferred bidders by September, to allow sufficient construction time to meet the January 2018 deadline.

The SBIDZ is preparing establish the zone as a ‘free port’ offering duty-free, VAT-free conditions for operators.
Marine infrastructure associated with Berth 205 and the jetty will require an estimated R6.5-billion, while the land-side infrastructure, including cranes, workshops and warehouses, could involve R3-billion in capital expenditure.

Roux indicates that the facilities will be operated on an ‘open access’ basis and that there is both black-economic empowerment and local community involvement.

South African Oil and Gas Alliance executive director Ebrahim Takolia says, despite the oil-price drop, international service providers are likely to be attracted by the long-term economic rationale of locating a hub close to the expanding African market.

He says Saldanha Bay is well located for both the rigs operating off West and East Africa, as well as for passing trade. It is estimated that there are 100 rigs operating offshore Africa, while ±120 rigs pass by South Africa for repair, primarily in Asia.

Roux says the intention is to transform Saldanha Bay from being a “port of last resort” for rig repair to a “port of first choice”.

By: Terence Creameriii

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue