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SAPREF to pause refinery operations

10 February 2022
Following consultation with government, unions, and employees, SAPREF shareholders (bp Southern Africa and Shell Downstream South Africa) have today announced that they will commence with a spend freeze and pause refinery operations at SAPREF no later than the end of March 2022. 

This will be for an indefinite period but with a re-start possible in the future, including in the event of any future sale.


The decision has been taken to allow an informed finalization on the various options available to the shareholders, a sale option being the most preferred. Until decisions about the future of the plant have been made – including a possible change of ownership – the SAPREF shareholders are unable to commit to further investment in the refinery.


The decision to pause refinery operations currently has no impact on full time employees, and safety remains a primary consideration.


Moving forward, the shareholders will use other existing assets and trading arrangements to ensure ongoing security of fuel supply to the country and their consumers.


bpSA CEO Taelo Mojapelo said: “Over the many decades since its establishment, SAPREF has made immense economic contributions at both a local and national scale. For this reason, we continue to pursue the sale of our share in the refinery so that it can continue to advance its legacy as a reliable, safe and productive asset.



“Leading up to the refining pause, we have put contingencies in place to ensure that this decision does not impact our customer facing businesses in South Africa or our fuel supply obligations. We remain committed to South Africa through our demonstrated transformation initiatives in the value chain and continue to work with our strategic partners to strengthen our differentiated convenience offers.”

According to Hloniphizwe Mtolo, Country Chair, Shell Downstream South Africa, “The decision to pause the refinery was a difficult one for both shareholders. Shell remains committed to security of supply to our customers over this production pause. South Africa continues to be a key location for Shell as we progress our growth agenda as an energy provider of choice and a Nation Builder.” 


Notes to editors


bpSA has operated in Southern Africa for over 100 years, with a footprint of over 500 branded retail service stations in South Africa and core convenience offerings through Wild Bean Café and
Pick n Pay Express. bpSA has invested in six fuel storage terminals, two of which are 100% bpSA owned.


Established in 1963, SAPREF is the largest crude oil refinery in South Africa with 35% of the country’s refining capacity. It is co-owned as a joint venture by bp Southern Africa and Shell Refining South Africa (“SAPREF Shareholders”).


The refinery has been a major contributor towards the socio-economic development of the country for 59 years, refining essential products that include petrol, diesel, jet fuel, lubricating oil, liquid petroleum gas, paraffin, solvents, bitumen, marine fuel oil and chemical feed stocks.

Further information


Find more information about bp Southern Africa click here. Find out more about SAPREF through their website.


bpSA Communications & Advocacy office, Johannesburg 063 196 2289 or Nelisiwe.Masina@bp.com