Picture: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER
Picture: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER

The shortage of unleaded fuel in parts of Johannesburg has ended, says South African Petroleum Industry Association CEO Avhapfani Tshifularo.

Motorists in parts of Johannesburg experienced difficulties in getting 93 unleaded petrol, with some filling stations out of stock after a slow-moving product through the Transnet fuel pipeline between Durban and Johannesburg, blocked supplies of other fuels to retail stations on Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesday, the prices of 93 and 95 unleaded petrol on the reef rose by 67c a litre, while diesel rose by 44c litre. A fuel price hike usually causes a surge in demand.

Tshifularo said demand for diesel 500 had been weak so it had been accumulating in storage tankers and the fuel pipeline, blocking the movement of other products. The problem had now been addressed and other products were starting to move through.

Saret Knoetze, spokesperson for Transnet Pipelines, said: "The potential shortage of some fuel grades in the inland is not attributed to Transnet Pipelines as our capacity and infrastructure is available to ensure security of supply.

"This nondelivery and shortage is due to product availability and depressed demand for certain products. As the pipeline is a continuous system, a bottleneck occurs when customers cannot accept a delivery or make supply available.

"As diesel 500 and ULP 93 is ready for delivery to oil companies, but they cannot accept these grades due to their facilities being full, other grades like diesel 500 and ULP 95 are "locked" behind these products and can not get delivered to the market. All stakeholders are working together to resolve the issue."

Shell was currently experiencing a supply shortage at some of its inland retail sites, said spokesperson Dineo Pooe. This was based on higher demand due to the price change earlier this week and delays in product replenishments into the Alberton terminal.

"We can, however, confirm that this is not related to any strike action," Pooe said.

"Our current estimate is that normality will return at the Alberton terminal over the weekend. Thereafter we expect a 72-hour timeframe to improve stock levels at affected sites," she said.

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