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Draft Report Study tour to Gauteng Province, 12-13 August 2003

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Draft Report Study tour to Gauteng Province, 12-13 August 2003

     Report of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology on Study

    Tour to Sasolburg and Secunda, 10-11 August 2006:

The Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, having conducted a study tour to

    Sasolburg and Secunda from 10 11 August 2006, reports as follows:

Members Present:

    The delegation, under the leadership of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Hon.

    E N N Ngcobo (ANC), included Hon. S Dithebe (ANC), Hon. F Mahomed (ANC), Hon.

    B T Ngcobo (ANC), Hon. S N Nxumalo (ANC), Hon. J P I Blanche (DA), Hon. A M

    Dreyer (DA), Hon. H J Bekker (IFP), Hon. P J Nefolovhodwe (AZAPO)

Apologies:

    Hon. A R Ainslie (ANC), Prof I J Mohamed (ANC), Hon. B J Mnyandu (ANC), Hon. M

    J Bhengu (IFP), Hon. V C Gore (ID) and Hon. N T Godi (PAC)

Supporting Staff:

    Ms Z Jansen (Committee Secretary).

Background:

    Sasol’s technologies in the field of Gas-to-Liquid production were recently in the

    international limelight with the opening of the Oryx GTL project in Qatar. Sasol, in

    consultation with the Portfolio Committee, had decided to create the opportunity for

    Members of the PC to familiarize themselves with the technologies that Sasol had

    developed over the years.

Purpose / objective for the study tour:

    The objective of the study tour was for Members of the Portfolio Committee of Science

    and Technology to familiarize themselves with the technologies that Sasol has developed

    over the years, in particular, Sasol’s Research and Development Activities and its

    Manufacturing Plants. It was also an opportunity for Members of the PC to interact with

    Sasol on issues pertaining to the PC oversight function such as issues related to scarce

    skills and skills development.

10 11 August 2006 (Sasolburg and Secunda)

    Sasol delegation briefed the PC on the following:

    ? Sasol’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) objectives in Liquid Fuels

    Business is to increase and create new business and meaningful participation

    of broad-based groups such as communities, rural woman and youth groups.

    ? South Africa has a Bi-lateral trade agreement with Mozambique. Sasol

    therefore embarked on this project because of the bi-lateral agreement.

    Mozambique also has sufficient gas reserves. In this way, targeted Sasol’s

    internal and external markets, BEE ventures and Mozambican markets.

    ? It is the leading beneficiator of coal to synfuels and petrochemicals.

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    ? It was pointed out that for Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative South Africa

    (ASGISA) to succeed, the energy sector has to meet the following

    challenges:-

    1. Close the gap between investment required and domestic capital available.

    2. Close the gap between South African fuel demand and supply.

    3. Close the gap between demand for diesel and ability for crude oil

    refineries to supply.

    4. Close the supply gap of transportation energy needs to inland area.

    ? In order to close the energy gap Sasol would have to expand its coastal crude

    oil refineries, import refined products, invest in a new coastal refinery and

    invest in South Africa’s competitive advantage in Coal-to-Liquids technology.

    ? In its global activities, it has identified 2 sites in Western China. Sasol has

    currently signed up with Chinese partners for a study to evaluate the

    feasibility of the projects.

    The following formed part of the discussion:

    ? Committee enquired whether Sasol has made any progress in the Hydrogen

    Economy? Sasol responded that it produces the cheapest hydrogen in the

    world however, there is a problem transporting it and in generating it as it

    gives off Carbon Dioxide which is dangerous.

    ? Committee wanted to know how much electricity it uses? Sasol answered that

    it uses electricity equivalent to that of two cities the size of Durban.

    ? Committee questioned Sasol on how long would the gas reserves in

    Mozambique last? Sasol responded that the gas reserves in Mozambique

    should last for 40 years however, they are doing further exploration in this

    area. It pointed out that the issue is not how long the coal would last but

    whether it will be within economic developments.

    ? Committee enquired what would happen to the equipment when the gas

    reserves have depleted? Sasol responded that in terms of the agreement,

    Mozambique will retain ownership of the equipment.

    ? Committee enquired whether Sasol has a problem with retaining its staff?

    Sasol pointed out that it experience a problem with both tha scarcity of skills

    and retaining its staff. To overcome this challenge, the Group Executive

    decided that they will be doubling their budget allocated for bursaries.

    ? Committee queried the statistical breakdown of its staff, in particular what the

    percentage of its of managers, students and staff are women? Sasol responded

    that 12% of managers are women, 32% of their staff and students are women.

    ? Committee queried whether Sasol has a disaster management plan for their

    site as well as the communities surrounding the site? Does it take into account

    its employees mental state after accidents occurred on the site? Sasol

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    emphasized that safety has become a way of life for all staff at Sasol. All its

    staff receives rescue training and before each shift starts there is safety

    training. It has emergency pre-planning for high-risk areas which is linked to

    government’s disaster plan.

    ? Committee enquired what the composition of the Safety Committee? Sasol

    responded that the Safety Committee comprises of two union representatives

    and six managers, however when a vote is made on any issue, employees and

    mangers vote equally. It also adopts a style of management where everyone’s

    input is taken into account.

    ? Committee pointed out that as petrol prices are soaring is Sasol looking at

    manufacturing vehicles that use gas. Sasol responded that it prototype vehicles

    using gas have been manufactured. It is exploring the possibility of using

    hydrogen, however there is the problem of carbon dioxide explained

    previously.

Recommendations:

    ? Sasol should have a portion of its students trained in other countries to obtain

    relevant skills. Sasol responded that its Chief Executive Officer worked with

    the Deputy President of South Africa on Joint Initiative on Priority of Skills

    Acquisition (JIPSA) and that it is serious about the country’s national

    priorities and transforming skills in South Africa.

    ? A national workshop on skills development be held and all the necessary

    stakeholders such as Agriculture (re: veterinary sciences), Minerals and

    Energy (re: technicians and artisans for the chemical industry), Labor (re:

    Seta’s) Education (re: skills training) and Science and Technology (re:

    technical skills development) be invited. The workshop should focus on the

    challenges South Africa faces on the issue of scarce skills and skills

    development in a holistic manner.

Acknowledgements:

The Committee wishes to thank all the people that it met and interacted with during the

    study tour. The hospitality accorded to the Delegation made the task of the Committee

    much easier and affordable.

     Report to be considered.

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