Karpowership SA given environmental approval for 450MW Richards Bay floating gas power project

  • Karpowership SA has been given environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval by South Africa’s Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment for their Richards Bay floating gas power project. 
  • The project has 450 MW capacity consisting of two moored gas power ships with an adjoining floating regasification storage unit and connecting transmission infrastructure.
  • The project is one of three floating natural gas power stations totalling 1220MW Karpowership  has won  at ports in South Africa, the other two are located in the ports of Coega and Saldanha.

Richards Bay. Image credit: City of uMhlathuze

Karpowership SA was awarded preferred bidders’ status for three gas power ship projects totalling 1220MW in South Africa’s controversial Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) . Their projects have struggled to reach financial close since July 2021 and face massive push back from environmental groups. The groups challenged Karpowership SA late and revised EIA application for Richards Bay floating gas power plant.

According to civil society organisations – including the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), groundWork, The Green Connection, Natural Justice, and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) – South Africans must be wary of this deal which, if approved, could have far-reaching implications. Read more

The project is one of the six gas-to-power plants proposed in the Richard’s Bay Area. Other plants include: Richards Bay (Eskom) power station (3000 MW), Nseleni Independent Floating power station-NFIPP (2800 MW), Phinda Power Plant (450 MW), Richards Bay Gas to Power Plant 3 (2000 MW), and Richards Bay Gas to Power Plant 2 (400 MW).

The current ruling party, the ANC, stands to benefit financially through the Karpowership SA gas supply value chain. Read more 

More recently, a court battle between Turkish powership company Karadeniz and its estranged BEE partners unearthed a draft agreement suggesting that influential businesswoman Anna Mokgokong was asked to help Karpowership secure permits from government. In terms of the agreement, Karadeniz would help Mokgokong and her company take over 49% of the R218-billion Karpowership deal, replacing the original BEE shareholders. The secret agreement also promised Karadeniz a slice of a new R13.6-billion gas terminal in the Port of Ngqura – an arrangement described as “State Capture on steroids”. Read more

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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