During March this year, BP Africa announced the completion of its new R140-million rail gantry built at its Pretoria-based fuel storage facility. The company is in the process of adding a 10-million litre storage facility due to be completed later this year. The gantry can decant 38 rail wagons at a time, an increase of 80% over the previous facility.
According to the BP website, the improved capacity makes up about 60% of the reduced capacity of the existing, aging pipeline. This is an important contribution to fuel security in Gauteng and other inland areas. No mention is made as to when locomotives and rail tankers will be available to optimise the gantry’s improved capacity.
Only recently China discovered it potentially has more shale gas reserves than the US. According to Reuters, the US Energy Information Agency’s report says China holds more than 36 trillion cubic metres of technically recoverable shale gas. To cope with its voracious appetite for energy, China is champing at the bit to start drilling. However, Cornell University in New York has, according to Reuters, released a study that argues Methane seepage escapes into the atmosphere during production and distribution. Methane is said to be a potent greenhouse gas. Hopefully, The DME and Shell are watching this space.
Ways to protect food security are mentioned but not discussed in the IEA’s Technology Roadmap Biofuels for Transport report.