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New move to end fuel strike

Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 July 2011 – Royal Dutch Shell plc, BP plc and other oil companies operating in South Africa will probably resume pay talks to end the 10-day strike that has disrupted fuel supplies, caused fuel shortages and threatened industrial activity in the country.

“We are consulting our members with a view to going back to the negotiating table tomorrow,” Clement Chitja, a spokesman for the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union, said today by mobile phone. “While the union “’ one of four on strike “’ may temper some demands, it won’t settle for pay increases of less than 10%”, he said.

Shell, BP and Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s Engen Limited unit have reported shortages at gas stations in Gauteng province, which consumed 37% of the country’s perol in 2009, as protests by striking workers hampered truck deliveries. Sasol Limited the country’s largest producer of motor fuels, has reduced production at its Secunda plant.

Mxolisi Ratsibe, chairman of the National Petroleum Employers Association, didn’t immediately respond to a message left on his mobile phone by Bloomberg News.

South Africa has six refineries with a combined processing capacity 692,000 barrels a day. They distribute fuels, mainly petrol, by pipelines, rail, sea and road to about 200 depots, which in turn send fuel to about 4,600 petrol stations, according to the South African Petroleum Industry Association’s website.

The country consumed about 11.3 billion liters of gasoline and 9.1 billion liters of diesel in 2009.