CEF REFUTES ESKOM’S CEO MISLEADING STATEMENT THAT AFTER A VISIT BY RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER CEF APPROACHED ESKOM TO TRANSFER 3 OF ITS POWER STATIONS TO CEF FOR REGASIFICATION PROGRAMME
Johannesburg-The Central Energy Fund (CEF) has noted a misleading media report aired on E-TV News channel on Tuesday night (21 February 2023) at 21:00 and repeated on ENCA’s Check point yesterday, wherein the Eskom’s CEO, Mr Andre de Ruyter is on record during an interview with Ms Annika Larsen saying from what we can hear from the recording while responding to a question:
“Now we are going into the realm of speculation, and again, no evidence. About three months ago there was a visit by the Russian Minister of Energy to South Africa. Russia as we know is very long on gas following its invasion of Ukraine. It is looking for markets for gas, there is no doubt about that. It was quite interesting for me to observe how soon after we received a request from the Central Energy Fund to transfer three of our aging power stations Camden, Hendrina and Grootvlei to the Central Energy Fund which by the way reports into the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to convert those to gas. Ah, now maybe, I am adding one and one and getting three but, ah politics there is very seldom such a thing as a coincidence.”
CEF considers it reckless for Mr de Ruyter to go on National television and make wild allegations about the request for collaboration with Eskom on the coal fired power stations that Eskom intends to decommission as he clearly says in the interview without evidence. Instead of focusing on the content of the letter he is referring to that he received from CEF he elects to indulge in the realm of speculation.
The intention though from Mr de Ruyter is a sinister one, which has nothing to do with addressing the debilitating effects of loadshedding on the South African economy through ensuring the optimisation of the capacity that sits within the South African state to address this challenge.
At the heart of the request from CEF to Eskom was and is still to intensify collaboration between the two State owned entities given the just energy transition and the importance of gas in this taking into account the fact that we have a base load capacity challenge. CEF is of the view that this needs to be taken seriously.
We have been at pains explaining to Mr de Ruyter that the collaboration of Eskom with an entity of the state such as CEF from a gas to power standpoint makes the most economic sense given
the Rompco infrastructure position and possibility of increasing gas flow and the implications thereof on the gas price. And, the implications of this on job retention and creation in the Mpumalanga area is also at the heart of our request for collaboration.
CEF mentions in our letter to Mr de Ruyter the importance of collaborating with Mozambique for gas to power given the gas pipeline infrastructure that the South African state co-owns through a 100% subsidiary of CEF, iGas. Mr de Ruyter instead as he clearly puts it in the interview chooses to indulge in speculation, and to his credit mentions that there is no evidence to the link he tries to make between our request for collaboration with Eskom and his speculation.
Mr de Ruyter is deliberately misleading in his response and hides behind the qualification that he makes before he proceeds to choose not to tell the truth regarding CEF’s proposal for collaboration with Eskom on gas to power. CEF is also of the view that it does not help to address the baseload capacity by replacing base load generation with intermittent generation profile, and our proposal is geared towards ensuring that this risk does not intensify. It is also important to indicate that CEF clearly indicated to Mr de Ruyter that it is not wise for land to be auctioned off without thinking about optimising synergies within the state in relation to generation.
It is unfortunate that CEF has been put in a position where it has to respond in public to Mr de Ruyter’s indulgence in the realm of speculation without evidence. We also attach our communication with him on this matter to indicate that one plus one is indeed two. And it should be noted that CEF has been calling for productive collaboration with Eskom long before the letter My de Ruyter is referring to.
CEF remains ready to continue to work with Eskom to deal with the current power challenges.