Shell Oil Co

Shell Declares Supply 'Force Majeure' in Strike-hit South Africa

The company said that while the country had enough petroleum products, it was taking the precautionary action while allowing its clients to take delivery from alternative sources where the need arose.

Royal Dutch oil giant Shell (IW 1000/1) on Friday declared it might not meet its contractual obligations to deliver fuel as a result of an ongoing strike by thousands of truck drivers in South Africa.

"We declared a force majeure only in Gauteng and Mpulanga because we have been having, due to the strike and intimidation and hostility, close to two of our depots in Alberton and in Witbank, unable to maximise delivery capacity," spokeswoman Dineo Pooe said.

She said the country had enough petroleum products, but was taking the precautionary action while allowing its clients to take delivery from alternative sources where the need arose.

"Actually there is a lot of fuel, but... because of the strike we are not able to get as many trucks we would possibly like and also we are quite cautious because when we deliver we want to do it safely."

Oil companies have had to rope in the services of police and security firms to safeguard delivery tankers.

"Yes we have been using police escort in a lot of areas, but there are areas that are much more violent than others," she said, adding where police does not have enough manpower to secure the tankers, deliveries just don't take place.

Some fuel stations in parts of the country have been running dry as 20,000 truck drivers parked their fleet demanding pay rise.

The strike is now in its second week.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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