According to the state-owned Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), a request for bids to establish a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Richards Bay Port in KwaZulu-Natal will be released in the coming weeks.
The bidding process followed TNPA’s confirmation that it received 19 answers to a February 13 request for information (RFI) to assess market interest in the design, planning, building, financing, operations, maintenance, and transfer of an LNG terminal in the port’s South Dunes district.
According to port manager Captain Dennis Mqadi, the responders included experienced gas infrastructure developers and operators from South Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, and the Middle East. He stated that the project was in line with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s strategic goal for developing a domestic gas market and the country’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity, which includes a 3 000 MW gas-to-power allocation for construction by 2027.
To that aim, TNPA plans to approach the market in the coming weeks with a request for proposal, ensuring that the project can be completed within the stipulated timeline of 2026, according to Mgadi in a statement, adding that the bidding process would be transparent and fair.
Prospects for the LNG Terminal at Richards Bay
Richards Bay is one of many prospective sites for the construction of LNG import infrastructure in Southern Africa. Given its closeness to the current Rompco pipeline, which connects South African gas consumers with gas supplies from southern Mozambique, both Sasol and Eskom have shown an interest in potentially obtaining the extra gas that may flow from a terminal in Matola.
Sasol has signed a draft term sheet for the delivery of LNG to its Mpumalanga complex beginning in 2026, while Eskom has suggested the possibility of repowering some of its decommissioned coal units in the same region with gas alternatives. Meanwhile, a separate RFI has been launched to investigate the implementation alternatives and market interest for the establishment of an LNG import hub at the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.
This document was issued by the Central Energy Fund, which has entered into a joint development agreement with Transnet and the Coega Development Corporation to allow the construction of a prospective port near the Coega Special Economic Zone.
Transnet has previously emphasized Richards Bay’s potential, stating that the cost of gas delivery may be decreased by connecting it to existing port and pipeline infrastructures, such as the Lily pipeline and portions of the Durban-to-Johannesburg pipeline. However, Richards Bay is a long way from Eskom’s Ankerlig and Gourikwa open-cycle gas turbine power facilities in the Western Cape, which now use diesel but are technically capable of running on gas. The state-owned utility plans to contact the market soon about probable LNG supplies for both power plants.