South Africa’s DFFE rejects Karpowership’s LNG-to-power plan

South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said on Thursday it has refused to award environmental approvals for three LNG-to-power projects proposed by Turkey’s Karpowership.

The African country has earlier this year selected Karpowership SA, a South African unit of Karpowership, as a preferred bidder for the three projects totaling 1220 MW in the Ports of Coega, Saldanha, and Richards Bay.

South Africa in total awarded eight power projects for a total 2,000 MW capacity under the risk mitigation independent power producers procurement programme.

The country is looking to find the cheapest and quickest options to ease a big power shortage. The preferred bidders must reach financial close by the end of July due to the urgency to bring needed power to the country.

Karpowership to appeal the decision

Karpowership SA submitted in October 2020 three applications to secure an environmental authorisation, DFFE said in a statement on Thursday.

Moreover, the applications came as a response to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s requests for emergency power supply interventions linked to the risk mitigation independent power procurement program.

“The competent authority in the department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations,” the department said.

A Karpowership spokesperson told Reuters the company would appeal the decision.

“Karpowership SA conducted a robust public participation process, met all South Africa’s stringent environmental requirements and is confident that it will win the appeal,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding it was the victim of a “misinformation campaign”.

Karpowership previously said the new South African projects would benefit from its relations with global partners such as Royal Dutch Shell and Japan’s MOL.

The firm cited Shell as its “exclusive” LNG supplier while MOL is the firm’s main partner in KARMOL.

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