Construction works are underway for South Africa’s first offshore supply base (OSSB) at the Port of Saldanha,in the Western Cape with a private port terminal operator selected to build and operate the OSSB.
Following a competitive bidding process conducted by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Saldehco emerged the winner and was selected for a 20-year concession period, mandated to concession port terminals to private operators in line with Section 56 of the National Ports Act.
The US $147m project is expected to come to completion in the next five years. However, on completion, the facility will provide services to offshore oil and gas companies operating along Africa’s coastline.
Saldehco,which is owned by a private investment group; HARPS Holdings, is responsible for developing the OSSB. The company also has energy, property and marine interests in several countries, as well as black-women-owned energy company Semona.
Moreover, the facility is expected to start offering basic services within a year of the signing of the terminal operator agreement.
Saldehco will be responsible for providing warehousing, workshops, office facilities, as well as equipment such as cranes and other rubber-tyred equipment in order to operate the terminal. However, as a port landlord and planner, TNPA will provide berth infrastructure for the OSSB at the port’s general maintenance quay.
Along the West and East coasts of Africa, the OSSB will offer services to vessels supporting offshore exploration and production activities.
Speaking during a signing ceremony in Saldanha, Saldehco, chairperson Sophie Masipa confirmed that the facility will provide fabrication of offshore structures, as well as a range of other services, from the provision of marine bunkers and lubricants to fresh water.
Oil and gas services hub
According to Shulami Qalinge, TNPA CEO, the OSSB will position Saldanha as an oil and gas services hub, while Siyabonga Gama,Transnet CEO the concession will change the economic landscape of the local, regional and national economy.
The Special Economic Zone ,SEZ will be operated by the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licencing Company, which recently concluded a commercial development lease agreement for the development of various pockets of land, totaling 35 ha in the port.The OSSB which is located at a commercial port will operate within the country’s first SEZ.