Transnet Pipelines

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IndustryPipeline services
Key people
Lennie Moodley, Chief Executive
Sibongiseni Khathi, Chief Operations Manager
Tanuja Naidoo CFO[1]
ProductsPipeline operation service
Petroleum storage
Pipeline infrastructure management
RevenueR5.8 bn 2016 (Petroleum Pipelines System)[2]
Number of employees
~ 500

Transnet Pipelines, a subsidiary of Transnet, is the principal operator of South Africa's fuel pipeline system. It is responsible for over 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles) of pipelines. It is responsible for petroleum storage and pipeline maintenance. Transnet Pipelines works with petrols, diesel fuel, jet fuel, crude oil and natural gas (methane rich gas). Total throughput is over 16 billion litres (3.5 billion imperial gallons; 4.2 billion US gallons) per year.


The introduction of pipelines to convey petroleum in South Africa occurred in 1963 with a Bill enacted in parliament granting the right to manage them to the South African Railways & Harbours Administration (SAR&H).[3]:76 The Bill called for pipelines to be built 1.5 metres underground where possible.[3]:76

South Africa in the 1960s was undergoing an economic boom which resulted in a requirement to increase petroleum products by twelve percent to meet demand.[3]:77 Prior to this point, rail transport via Maputo (Lourenço Marques) and Durban was the main means of transport and was reaching a point full capacity.[3]:77 Industry and SAR&H saw pipelines as a means of relieving the pressure on the railways.[3]:77

The first pipeline built was 12 inches wide at 430 cubic metres per hour, costing R20 million and was routed from Durban to Pretoria via Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith, Bethlehem, Kroonstad, Sasolburg and Alberton with ability to draw product from each of those points.[3]:77 The first pipeline would later be extended to deliver petroleum products to Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom and Langlaagte in mining towns near to Johannesburg.[3]:77 Though the first pipeline was not entirely successful, the SAR&H decided to build a larger pipeline and also meet the strategy of the government, to stockpile oil in mines as means to protect against a proposed oil boycott by the international community opposed to the country's Apartheid policies.[3]:77

This pipeline came into commission in 1969, with an eighteen-inch diameter, costing R50 million (1970) and routed from Durban over the Drakensberg to Sasolburg and its new Natref refinery with pipelines to Kendal and Ogies for storage of crude oil in old coal mines.[3]:77 There was also an extension to Empangeni and a spur to the future Port of Richards Bay as the latter was proposed to receive oil tankers sometime in the future.[3]:77

After many years of modifications, these three developed into a refined fuels, crude oil and gas pipelines with an additional one transporting aviation fuel from Natref to OR Tambo International Airport.[3]:77


Transnet Pipelines uses a telecontrol system to monitor its pipeline. The telecontrol system is by Siemens Systems and "allows for automatic leak detection and batch tracking". The system operates with a 4-second delay between an event in the pipeline and on-screen display in Durban.

The company's projects include a new multiproduct pipeline corridor between Gauteng and Durban. It is working on a partnership with Pande Gas in Mozambique.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us". Transnet Pipelines. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Regulatory Financial Reports". Transnet Pipelines. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mitchell, Malcolm (1 June 2014). "A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century Chapter 5 : ports and pipelines : infrastructure". Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese. 2014 (v22i5): 74–77. ISSN 1021-2000 – via SABINET.