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Petroleum products: War in Eastern Europe could speed up transport revolution

The war in Eastern Europe could speed up the transport revolution, which will have positive outcomes for South Africa and its communities over the long term.

Earlier today, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy was briefed on the unfolding energy crisis brought on by the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the topic was considered from various angles.

The National Treasury, the Department and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) participated in the discussions.

According to the submissions, it does not seem like the high crude oil price was brought on solely by the war.

Oil producers were caught off guard by the swift economic recovery of the oil market after it had collapsed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is still implementing its policy of restricting production to ensure higher prices.

South Africa is currently more vulnerable to these fluctuations seeing as its refineries closed down and the country is now importing the greatest bulk of its fluid energy reserves in its already processed form.

Different points were emphasised, for instance, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy insisted that buyers must be found for the Sapref crude-oil refinery in Durban to ensure its survival.

The various role players, however, agreed that a price hike ranging between R1 and R3 should be expected. It will have an immense impact on households, which are the greatest consumers of fluid fuel.

Although certain measures, like fuel quotas, were brought up, they are not expected in the near future. Consumers are, however, encouraged to save fuel in any way they can, for the sake of their own finances as well.

From the CSIR's submission, it seems that South Africa, with its combination of alternative energy sources, could become independent of foreign sources of fluid fuel in the foreseeable future.

Developing electric vehicles for transporting passengers and using hydrogen for heavier loads, particularly by using renewable sources to generate the necessary electricity in the first place, have already become a reality.

Ever since the industrial revolution took root in South Africa in the 1920s, the choice was always between using polluting coal or imported crude oil as a source of energy.

The possibility of becoming self-sufficient and reaching climate objectives as well can drastically change the future of South Africa and all its communities.

 

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