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Research and Development

PetroSA has always been a recognised pioneer in petrochemical research and development, and our talent for innovation remains one of our defining strengths. 

Our Mossel Bay refinery, which opened in 1992, was the first refinery in the world to use gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology on a commercial scale. Since then, just seven more GTL refineries have been commissioned – and our Mossel Bay complex still ranks second biggest. 

With the support of colleagues and external partners worldwide, PetroSA’sresearch and development specialists have won respect across the industry for their innovative thinking and technical excellence combined with a proven ability to plan and execute development projects. 

Based at the Mossel Bay refinery, they continue to pioneer new ways of producing cleaner, cheaper and more sustainable petrochemical products for domestic and international markets. Their work will become increasingly important as the world’s crude oil reserves steadily deplete and the search for alternative – and sustainable – feedstocks intensifies. 

PetroSA continues to invest extensively in research and development. In 2010, for example, we signed a R36 million sponsorship agreement with the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The agreement involved establishing the PetroSA Synthetic Fuels Research Centre in the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry at the UWC. In addition, we relocated our conversion of olefins to distillates (COD) pilot plant from Mossel Bay to the university, where it now stands in a prestigious custom-built laboratory. 

COD technology is attracting significant attention for producing some of the cleanest fuels on the market using an environmentally friendly process. As the profile of COD technology rises, PetroSA is set to consolidate its position as an industry leader in this increasingly important field.