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PUBLISHER: Freight News (

The closure of the Sapref refinery in Durban will have a knock-on effect on the economy but is unlikely to directly impact the price of fuel in the short to medium term.

This was the word from economists on the announcement that BP and Shell will halt operations at Sapref indefinitely from March 2022 as they consider the future of the refinery.

Sapref, the largest crude oil refinery in southern Africa, contributed substantially to national and provincial GDP, economists said.

It accounts for 35% of South Africa’s refining capacity.

“The decision has been taken to allow an informed finalisation 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 firms announced in a joint statement on Thursday.

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