South Africa’s bulk fuel storage revolution, self-bunded tanks.


Self Bunded Tanks in South Africa. The new frontier for fuel storage.


While diesel prices are expected to decrease slightly in South Africa as we move into 2020, petrol prices are again on the increase and transport costs mean inland operators continue to pay more.

For local businesses, responding to the fluctuations in price and ensuring a reliable supply of quality fuel is a major challenge.

Investing in new fuel storage options including above-ground self-bunded tanks is one way local businesses are revolutionising their operations and shielding their business from the uncertainty of the fuel cycle.

Fuel pricing and transport challenges in South Africa

High and fluctuating fuel prices are the single biggest fuel-related issue for South African business, particularly when you consider the need to buy clean fuel that meets minimum emission standards and the bunker fuel oil sulphur cap.

While fuel forecourts provide convenience, buying in bulk through the retail network is expensive both in cost of product and in transport and handling costs.

Poor road infrastructure, bulk fuel theft and hijackings are among the serious challenges involved in transporting fuel in addition to sometimes lengthy loading and offloading turnaround times, traffic congestion and vast distances.

Xwena Petroleum’s Johann Appies says increasingly, South African operators are looking for new ways to secure an affordable fuel supply and ensure reliability and value for money by installing their own fuel storage systems.

“For titans of industry who need to keep power plants or manufacturing facilities operating and fleets on the road 24 hours a day, reliability of supply is their overarching concern,” Johann says.

“In most cases this boils down to capacity, both in terms of bulk fuel storage and logistics. Increasingly, businesses are taking matters into their own hands to develop their own storage infrastructure.”

Self-bunded fuel storage tanks – an affordable bulk fuel storage option

The availability of self-bunded fuel storage tanks like the Australian-developed F.E.S. TANKS range is revolutionising fuel storage options for South African business.

Johann says using self-bunded tanks like the F.E.S. range has enabled the above ground storage of fuel, solvents and other flammable liquids in a way that’s affordable, flexible and meets regulatory and environmental requirements.

“Because F.E.S. self-bunded above ground tanks come in sizes from 1000 to 110,000 litres and don’t require any external bund walls, they make it possible to store fuel in areas where it wouldn’t previously have been possible. The design of the tanks also means they can be easily secured on-site.

“Fire rated self-bunded fuel storage options mean operators can now store petrol and diesel aboveground in high volume areas while meeting all legislative requirements and standards – something that previously wasn’t viable with traditional un-bunded round tanks.

Self-bunded fuel storage tanks – a new frontier

Johann says significant costs are already being saved in rural and industrial areas by using aboveground self-bunded tanks as opposed to the traditional options that require expensive site preparation and earthworks.

“They’re easier to install, clean and maintain than traditional underground tanks, with easy secure access and the capability to work with the latest fuel distribution and management technology.

“Tanks can also be offered on a rental basis with no capital required upfront and rental included in fuel supplied. This means business operators can make savings immediately from installation. After the rental period they own the storage and dispensing infrastructure without any rental premiums, maximising their cost savings.”

Making small scale fuel distribution a reality for South African business

Safe, easily transportable above-ground petrol and diesel storage options are also opening up new opportunities in fuel distribution.

“Self-bunded Bloc tanks are a safe, convenient way to store and dispense smaller quantities of diesel and petrol fuels or lubricants.

“These small cube tanks – from 1000 litres – are ideal for sitting next to a generator and can be paired with the latest fuel distribution systems.”

New options like solar panels to power fuel pumps and distribution equipment are also offsetting the high electricity costs which have traditionally been a deterrent for fuel depot or retail operators in South Africa, Johann says.

“With the range of renewable energy solutions now available to lower input costs and reduce or negate dependency on the grid, fuel distribution systems can now be successfully operated through solar power during the day.

“Smart Payment systems and other technology platforms are also enabling the sharing of bulk fuel infrastructure, creating even greater cost savings. The same systems can be utilized to create compelling loyalty offerings to entice customers with other value offerings.”


Find out more about the F.E.S. Tanks range and how our experts in South Africa can help you design the right fuel storage system for your business at F.E.S. TANKS AFRICA

Fuel storage in Nigeria – the self-bunded tanks solution

self bunded tanks nigeria

Self Bunded Tanks in Nigeria. The new frontier for fuel storage.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest fuel producer, with oil and natural gas exports totalling almost 2000 barrels a day in December 2018. Fuel exports accounted for more than 85% of the total value of the country’s exports and in April this year, the government revived plans to double oil production by 2025 to as much as 4 million BPD.

self bunded tanks nigeria

At the same time, crude oil and downstream petroleum theft remain critical issues, particularly as global oil prices rise. Shell Nigeria reports that facilities operated by both local and international oil and gas companies continue to be affected by attacks and other illegal activities, leading to significant production disruptions and environmental contamination.

Third-party interference caused close to 90 per cent of the total number of spills of more than 100kg from the Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited operated joint venture pipelines in 2018.

Fuel storage in Nigeria – key issues

Keeping stored fuel safe and in good condition is a priority for Nigerian operators, with a number of storage and distribution options and security checks in place to minimise fuel loss.

Underground fuel storage tanks

Underground fuel tanks do offer security and can reduce fuel loss through evaporation. On the downside tanks and fuel distribution systems are often in poor condition, with inspection and maintenance difficulty and the cost of replacement significantly higher than above-ground storage options. Poorly maintained tanks add to the risk of fuel contamination and spoilage as well as to the risk of environmental leaks.

Fuel tank farms

For fuel storage on a grand scale fuel tank farms are the most common solution in Nigeria. Mega tank farms like the Ibefun farm in Ogun State are capable of storing up to 300 million litres of petroleum product. Security remains a key issue for these operations, with theft through distribution systems and spills through poorly maintained storage tanks among key issues.

Fuel management issues reports there have been numerous allegations of oil and petrol theft from Nigeria’s onshore export terminals, tank farms and refinery storage tanks. With oil companies basing their total production figures on unconfirmed volume estimates, using dipsticks to make calculations, there is also concern that the true magnitude of the problem might be underestimated.

Fuel storage for Nigerian business – the challenges of a reliable supply

For business operators, ensuring a reliable fuel supply for operational continuity is a critical issue. Petroleum products account for more than 83 per cent of the commercial primary energy consumed across Nigeria, with transport businesses among the major users.

With the nation exporting more than 85 per cent of its fuel oil and the country’s refineries poorly maintained and sometimes shutting down for months, fuel supply for domestic consumption is often disrupted and this can mean bad news for operators who need to power vehicles and machinery.

Transportation issues are also a significant factor behind an unreliable fuel supply. Tanker trucks are the primary method of fuel transportation and due to rough and poorly maintained roads problems like accidents, delays and product diversion often lead to product losses and low supply in regional areas.

Extreme Industrials (Nigeria). A secure fuel storage and distribution solution

Australian-made F.E.S. fuel storage tanks provide a secure and cost-effective solution to help Nigerian businesses take control of their fuel supply.

extreme-industries-logoStockists Extreme Industrials in Lagos say the tanks present a flexible solution that keeps fuel safe and helps keep businesses running without the need for expensive site preparation works.

The F.E.S. self-bunded tanks range comes in sizes ranging from 1000 litres to 110,000 litres built to international standards. The dual wall construction protects the environment against leaks, protects against fuel loss and degradation and saves on excavation and construction work.

“Another great benefit is that they are fully modular systems which makes site design simple. Everything, including connecting pipework, walkways and ladders can now be prefabricated and put together on-site,” says Extreme Industrials General Manager Ados Momoh.


“The tanks are also compatible with advanced fuel management systems that can keep track of fuel usage in real time – these systems can significantly streamline the refuelling process and dramatically reduce losses.”

To find out more about F.E.S. TANKS in Nigeria contact the experts at Extreme Industrials,

OTL Africa Downstream Week 

Extreme Industrials will be exhibiting at OTL Africa Downstream Week (in space C5) from 27-30th October 2019 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel. Feel free to drop in and talk to the Extreme Industrials team should you have any questions about your current fuel storage and management issues.

This event is globally acknowledged as the biggest platform for downstream oil & gas businesses in Africa.

Extreme Industrials OTL Africa Downstream Exhibition information

To learn more about OTL Africa Downstream Week, click here.  

Mining in Africa: A Bright Future

mining in africa hero image

After a period of volatility, commodity downturn, upward cost pressures and unstable politics exacerbating sovereign risk, demand is picking up again for African mining projects, with investors, producers and suppliers (like us) in the box seat.

Mining activity in Africa is ramping up at warp speed.

You see, the continent itself produces more than 60 metal and mineral products, including high-grade gold, bauxite, manganese, coal, iron ore, cobalt, uranium, platinum, rare earths, copper to diamonds.

It’s a treasure trove for mineral extraction. Yet for many years, concerns around regional stability prevented companies from taking that much-needed ‘leap of faith’ and pouring capital into the region.

But, with political tensions easing in parts and demand for commodities on the rise, more projects are transitioning from exploration to production.

Opportunities for African mining

At the Mining Indaba conference held in Cape Town in February, Global Business Reports launched a lengthy white paper outlining investment opportunities in Africa for 2019.

“Overwhelmingly, our research conducted throughout 2018 suggests an air of cautious optimism heading into 2019,” Global Business Reports stated.

“Paradoxically, that stability has been driven by a broad trend across the continent towards diversification away from the mining industry into sectors such as agriculture, power generation and manufacturing.”

Global Business Reports said in the Central African copper belt, the DRC stole the spotlight and “will continue to demand the world’s attention in 2019” as skyrocketing cobalt prices and ongoing political chaos ensure the perfect storm.

“Throughout Southern Africa – from Botswana’s depleting diamond reserves to Zimbabwe’s well-established chromium deposits and Zambia’s deepening copper mines – maturing jurisdictions are more increasingly focused on the task of achieving local content and beneficiation,” it said.

“Conversely, in West Africa, the region’s underexplored mineral resource potential makes the area an attractive proposition for investors from across the globe and more nascent jurisdictions like Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire are eager to incentivize foreign investment.”

Resolute Gold - Syama Gold Mine Mali
Image: Resolute Mining

In Australia alone, there were more than 200 companies investing in Africa, with about 700 projects in 35 countries. Of these companies, most of them were based in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Burkina Faso.

And as the world transitions towards electric vehicles, all the associated materials were trending, from lithium, graphite, nickel to copper.

“80% of the world’s lithium is solution-based and comes from Bolivia, but more and more discoveries are being made in Africa of hard-rock type lithium,” WorleyParsons RSA chief executive Denver Dreyer said.

“Thermal coal is still interesting for South Africa, because of our ongoing reliance on coal and the need to replace the depleting coalfields with higher quality coal. Additionally, 80% of Africa’s manganese is found in South Africa and it is of good quality.”

In its Future of Mining in Africa: Navigating a Revolution report, Deloitte said in the midst of all this growth, the fourth industrial revolution had emerged, presenting further opportunities and challenges for African mining projects.

“Regulatory changes and societal impacts require mines to become not merely compliant, but to adopt smarter ways of deriving value from regulation, while ensuring mutual benefit to surrounding communities and environments in which they operate. New skills, a changing workforce, organisational restructuring and adoption of new technologies are all important to navigate in this era,” Deloitte stated.

New Mining Projects in Africa

So there’s a brief rundown on the opportunities for mining in Africa. Let’s now take a look at some of the exciting new developments.

  • Yaouré | Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU) began construction at its third African project, Yaouré, in May. The $US265 million project is in Côte d’Ivoire and once operational in 2020, will produce 215,000 ounces of gold.
  • Syama | In April, the Mali Government granted Resolute Mining (ASX: RSG) a 10-year extension of the Syama mining permit to enforce the provisions of a new Mining Convention Agreement. The new agreement guarantees an income tax rate of 25%; a 10% reduction on the previous rate of 35%.
Resolute Gold - Syama Gold Mine Mali
Image: Resolute Mining
  • KCC & Mutanda | Following some setbacks at its DRC operations late last year, Glencore (LSE: GLEN) has entered into a long-term revolving agreement for the supply of cobalt hydroxide (cobalt) to Umicore’s battery materials value chain. The agreement underpins continued operations at the DRC cobalt projects.
  • Obuasi | Earlier this year AngloGold Ashanti (ASX: AGG) resumed operations at its mothballed Obuasi gold mine in Ghana. In June, the miner announced it would recruit up to 2500 workers to ramp up the mine to full operations.
  • Fekola | Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX: BTO) is assessing a $US50 million expansion of its Fekola gold project in Mali. The potential expansion would see it increase annual processing capacity to a baseline of 7.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
  • Boikarabelo | Resource Generation (ASX: RES) is a step closer to advancing its $550 million Boikarabelo coal mine in South Africa, after receiving formal participation (credit approval) from the second member of a proposed three-party lending syndicate in June. This should facilitate the completion of the project finance.
Boikarabelo Epanko project for resolute mining
Image: Kibaran Resources
  • Epanko | Perth-based Kibaran Resources’ (ASX: KNL) $US88 million graphite project is development-ready after receiving in-principle approval in late May from the Tanzanian Government for its proposed debt financing arrangements. Construction is expected to begin in late 2019.
  • Kola | Kore Potash (LON: KP2) has secured $US13 million to continue development of its Kola potash project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Construction is planned to begin in late 2019.
  • Boffa | Aluminium Corp of China (Chalco) began construction at its $US500 million Boffa bauxite mine in Guinea late last year. The company planned to begin production in late 2019, with the first stage producing 12 million tonnes of bauxite per annum.
  • Segilola | Thor Explorations (TSX: THX) is developing the high-grade Segilola gold project in Osun, Nigeria. The project is considered the most advanced gold project in Nigeria with an EPC contract now locked in.

Power challenges facing African mines

Given the remote location of many of these projects, companies were still hitting roadblocks when it came to accessing reliable power.

“Some of the biggest challenges for power projects when they reach the point of bankability is the purchaser or offtaker,” Andrew Herscowitz, co-ordinator at Power Africa, an arm of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), told Global Business Reports.

“A recent study indicated that only two of 37 utilities in sub-Saharan Africa were actually financially solvent… The question is not whether there is enough flow across the continent – they are pretty much on par with anticipated demand for power in most countries. The power will simply not reach industry or the local population if we cannot improve the financial viability of utilities, build out the distribution network and set up transmission lines.”

Renewable energy projects were being considered, however, for now, mining companies in Africa were generally looking at hybrid energy systems, incorporating a traditional power source, like diesel fuel, and renewables.

“If the mine implements a hybrid solution, it is very important to have the right capacity installed to handle their consumption needs. At this stage, mining companies cannot afford to rely on the weather for their power supply and thus hybrid solutions are currently the best option,” Wärtsilä vice president for Africa Mamadou Goumble said.

Its clear diesel fuel will continue to be a reliable power source for African mines, and self bunded tanks to store fuel in bulk (securely) on site are in high demand.

Fekola mine
Fekola mine. Image: B2Gold

Self Bunded Tanks for African mining

At F.E.S. TANKS, we’re excited to announce we’re launching our self bunded diesel tanks into the African market this year, and will be servicing all industries through our new divisions:

  • F.E.S. TANKS AFRICA (based in South Africa)

We look forward to working with mining companies in Africa to help them with their bulk fuel storage needs, providing secure, safe tanks so issues like fuel theft and power outages can be a thing of the past.

If you’re a mining company that’s looking for secure power at your project in Africa, we’d love to hear from you.