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Friday, October 5, 2012

Energy group to invest R500m to ‘green’ its SA petrol stations

Energy group Total South Africa has unveiled what it describes as its first sustainable, energy efficient service station, which has been constructed in line with new norms introduced by the company as part of its local and international push towards what it calls a greener approach to its business.

Located in Fairlands, in Johannesburg, the service station was selected as the South African pilot site for an environment-friendly concept that has thus far been successfully tested by the Total group in Indonesia and Germany.

At a launch event, which boasted Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters as keynote speaker, Total South Africa’s newly appointed CEO, Christian des Closieres, explained that the project demonstrated the company’s commitment to the African agenda and its intention to transform its approach to business on the continent.

“We have introduced new standards of energy efficiency for our service stations and will be rolling out this programme to all of our petrol stations over the next three to five years, with a committed budget of over R500-million,” he noted.

The Total group has further plans to roll out several of these service stations in neighbouring countries, including Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The energy efficient aspects of the station include the use of low-energy lighting, solar panels and energy-reducing glass, with motion sensors installed in low-traffic areas to reduce the permanent and unnecessary use of electricity.

The floor covering of the station’s outlet is made from recycled materials, while water- harvesting technology has been installed to capture rainwater in underground tanks, which will be used for ablutions, the cleaning of the forecourt area and the irrigation of the landscaped garden.

In addition, the underground fuel storage facilities feature a double-wall tank, which provides additional protection and prevents the likelihood of underground fuel contamination or spillage.

Total South Africa offer development manager Kim Hockley explained that this new sustainability theme would be adhered to when any new service station was developed or rebuilt.

“This new development is based on a sustainable building assessment tool and is in keeping with the Minister’s call for energy facilities to blend in with the environment in which they are located,” she said.

Peters lauded the initiative, saying that it was a demonstration of the renewal of infrastructure that was required in the energy and other sectors and was in line with a call by South Africa President Jacob Zuma for increased infrastructure development.

“President Zuma has established a Presiden- tial Infrastructure Coordinating Committee, with the aim of renewing and developing infrastructure, as well as playing a pivotal job-creation function. The energy sector is central to this programme and I trust that others will follow Total’s lead,” she noted.

The Minister added that, as a department that was concerned about crude oil security of supply, it has noted the Total group’s upstream interest in the country’s offshore acreage.

“We wish the company total success as it pursues this option, as a find of gas or oil off our coast would enhance South Africa’s energy security,” she said.

Des Closiers hastened to add that while the company has seen a number of its competitors departing the continent, the Total group has long-term expansion plans for Africa and, despite concerns expressed by the Minister, would adopt a self-service approach at its service stations.

“We are well aware of our responsibility to become a more sustainable operation, as well as to uplift the labour force, and believe that tomorrow’s energy is today’s duty. We take up that duty today,” he said.

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