South Africa’s efforts at industrialisation face challenges related to the refining of products. For example, in 2021 almost 40% of refining of petroleum products will not be available. These petroleum refining plants have been in existence for many years and in some cases decades, and are facing significant challenges in terms of maintenance. In newer areas such as refining platinum, several companies are investing in refining capacities. The needs of these sectors vary not just by industry, but also by the age of the industrial plants. Pro Rise Scaffolding understands these differences and offer scaffolding solutions including when refineries are shutdown. 

Our broad approach to working with companies during shutdown is to be involved in all five phases of the shutdown period. For ease of reference we have an article outlining our approach. On this page, our focus is on understanding how scaffolding responds to a range of changes facing refineries. 

Environmental Concerns 

In the petroleum sector a major change is the introduction of Clean Fuel 2 regulations which will take effect in September 2023. The new regulations will align with Europe benchmarks for clean fuels. Several of the largest petroleum refineries have indicated that the costs of being compliant with these regulations will be too expensive and are considering turning refineries into storage and blending facilities. These decisions by firms are crucial as refineries support  value chains that employ around 80 000 direct jobs and 300 000 indirect jobs according to 2016 estimates by KPMG. These are serious policy questions facing the government. 

In response to the uncertainties Pro Rise Scaffolding has developed capacity in terms of skilled operators that could respond to a range of scenarios. This includes an instance where oil refineries are repurposed. 

In other sectors where refining activities take place, plant shutdowns are likely to be less likely. This is due to the age of these plants. However, unanticipated outages will require scaffolding services and equipment to be available. Pro Rise Scaffolding is able to directly provide or work with other companies to provide scaffolding services to refineries during shutdown or conversion. 

Gas as a “game changer” 

Off the Mossel Bay Coast lies the Luiperd and Brulpadda gas reserves. Whilst the potential of these reserves is vast, there are a range of regulatory and operational hurdles that need to be cleared before the potential is realised. A significant hurdle is the environmental one that would need to be cleared. The find is also significant because it provides a potentially new source of petroleum, even potentially converted into electricity. At this time, the commercial application of the gas finds are still being debated. 

The decisions taken in the industry are keenly watched at Pro Rise Scaffolding. In providing scaffolding the decisions will impact on the resources we have available or can tap into. Specifically, we are positioned to provide a service where changes in the refinery sector will be increasingly governed by environmental concerns and the exploitation of natural gases. 


The oil and gas refining sector thus experiences significant changes. Some of these changes, notably mitigating environmental damage, could potentially make oil refining unviable in South Africa. Other changes like the discovery of “wet gas” provide a lifeline to the sector. Whatever the outcomes, Pro Rise is positioning itself to be able to respond to different scenarios that emerge. 

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