3.06. Fossil fuel production and distribution
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Environmental Screening and Safety Study for the proposed LNG terminal at Saldanha and associated pipeline infrastructures to Atlantis and Cape Town
Initial part of the summary:
The Western Cape Government is committed to advancing the Green economy. Within this context,
the Green Economy Strategic Framework (adopted by the Western Cape Cabinet in March 2013)
highlights the importation of natural gas and the provision of associated infrastructures as a key
element of this economic development strategy.
The Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism, through the
Chief Directorate: Trade and Sector Development, commissioned a pre-feasibility study for the
importation of natural gas to the Western Cape with specific focus on the Saldanha Bay – Cape Town
corridor (Visagie, 2013). The pre-feasibility study concluded that a project to import LNG to the region
was potentially viable and merited further investigation. Consequently, the CSIR was commissioned to
undertake an environmental screening study for constructing a proposed 2 MMTPA LNG importation
facility and associated gas pipeline infrastructure to the Cape Town, Saldanha, Stellenbosch, Paarl and
Wellington regions. This throughput may increase to 4 MMTPA if additional customers and/or
suppliers join the project.
LNG will be transported by sea in LNG carriers and will either be pumped via cryogenic pipeline as a
liquefied gas to a permanent land-based storage facility at Saldanha or to a semi-submersible LNG
receiving terminal (also called FSRU vessel) within the Port of Saldanha or offshore at two locations
along the West Coast (southern section of St Helena Bay and between Dassen and Robben islands).
The liquefied gas will be re-gasified on demand and will be distributed to identified markets in the
Western Cape - namely Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Saldanha - via a
transmission 1 and distribution 2 gas pipeline network. The general philosophy is that the pipeline
will be buried with a cover of at least 1m to the top of the pipe, and up to 1.5 m cover when
crossing ploughed areas and vineyards, and will follow existing servitudes as far as possible. In
the case where LNG is discharged to an on-land storage facility, the cryogenic pipeline from the
vessel to the land-based facility cannot be buried and would run above ground on trestles over
the coastal dune belt.
An important aim of undertaking feasibility studies for a proposed project is to establish whether or
not there are any aspects of the development that are either technically flawed or have the potential
to give rise to unacceptable environmental consequences (ecological, social, economic, etc.). In the
context of this study, these are defined as potential ‘fatal flaws’.
During this screening process, various factors (e.g. habitat sensitivity, land use, etc.) have been used to
characterise the constraints and key issues associated with the proposed pipeline and where required,
alternatives to the proposed routing were assessed. The environmental sensitivity of the LNG terminal
location and the various affected sections of the proposed pipeline were assessed on a nominal scale of low,
medium, high, very high and fatal flaw, using the various factors identified in Chapter 3. It is important to
note that this study addresses issues and planning at a sub-regional level and it is therefore fairly high-level.
More specific and detailed studies will be undertaken during the route refinement stage, together with the
preliminary engineering design and EIA process that would be undertaken if the project would proceed.
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