Econ Oil, a black women-owned company, officially opened the first recycled petroleum plant in South Africa.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba opened The Econ Oil Plant at a ceremony in Marble Hall, Limpopo, on 19 October 2013.
The plant is part the company’s business expansion project and will supply three Eskom clusters with fuel.
Econ Oil, with a staff compliment of 30 people has won a five-year contract with Eskom.
According to the contract, it will supply Eskom with 16 million litres of fuel per month. The new plan will alleviate the Hendrina power station demands.
The opening of the plant comes at a time when the Department of Energy is finalising mandatory fuel blending regulations to ensure that petroleum companies incorporate biofuels in their liquid fuel products.
Nothemba Mlonzi is the founder and managing director of Econ Oil and Energy, situated in Marble Hall. The oil plant has the capacity to supply 85 000 litres of oil per hour.
“We’ve been a buyer and seller but this operation gives us a footing in the upstream industry as well. It becomes uncompetitive to remain a buyer and seller operation because you can’t be sensitive to the needs of your customers,” said Nothemba Mlonzi, managing director of Econ Oil.
At the opening ceremony, Minister Gigaba noted what the new plant means for economic growth in South Africa.
“Since government adopted economic transformation policy, South Africa has seen a change in the structure of the economy and this can be measured through African and black participation in various sectors of the economy,” said Gigaba.
“The constraints imposed by the industry’s failure to commit to transformation and the financial sector’s unwillingness to support many black entrepreneurs have not deterred the growth of the company,” said Gigaba.
“Without the platform it could not have just happened, irrespective of how much intellect one possesses or how much entrepreneurial skills you have, but if there are no enabling policies, the South African economy is structured in such a way that it’s not just automatically possible to jump into,” said Mlonzi.