Infrastructure: Sa Refinery World-class

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29 Jun 2010

South Africa's Mthombo oil refinery has been rated among the world's leading 10 infrastructure projects by KPMG and Infrastructure Journal.

KPMG's Global Infrastructure practice, in conjunction with Infrastructure Journal, on Monday announced the Infrastructure 100 – a showcase of the most impactful infrastructure projects from around the world.

Of those 100 projects – all shortlisted for their scale, complexity, innovation and impact on society – 10 have been highlighted by the independent judging panels as notable projects in different infrastructure sectors.

They are:

– Water – The Venice MOSE Flood Barrier, Italy;
– Power – Green Power Express, USA;
– Oil & Gas – Project Mthombo oil refinery, South Africa;
– Renewable energy – Incheon Tidal Power Project, South Korea;
– Rail – TAV high speed rail link, Brazil;
– Roads – Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge;
– Other transport – Panama Canal extension, Panama;
– Healthcare – CRCHUM P3 research centre, Canada;
– Education – King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia;
– Other Social Infrastructure – Greater Manchester Waste, UK

The projects considered are at different stages of development.

However, the judges were consistently impressed by the ambition which these projects demonstrate. They address major social concerns in a bold manner, despite huge engineering challenges.

The Venice flood barrier project, for example, is one of the biggest public works projects in Italian history and will use compressed air to raise flood gates to protect Venice from flooding. In the US, the Green Power Express is a proposed 3,000 mile network designed to transmit 12,000MW of renewable energy and thus address the transmission issue which is currently the biggest bottleneck facing the development of clean energy.

On the other side of the world, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge has been designed with a service life of 120 years and can withstand the impact of an earthquake measuring eight on the Richter Scale. One of the country's most technically complicated engineering projects, this requires the creation of several artificial islands and will reduce the travelling times from Hong Kong to Zhuhai from 4,5 hours to about 40 minutes.

Once built, the Incheon tidal power plant will facilitate 44 water turbines and will be five times bigger than the world's current biggest tidal plant. In a country like South Korea, which lacks an abundance of natural resources, this represents an ambitious – but necessary – project and could be a landmark for tidal power.

The social, as well as economic, impact was never far from the judges' minds – as with the Project Mthombo crude refinery which represents the centre piece of a new economic zone in the Eastern Cape Province and a strong move towards full independence for the South African economy.

Commenting on the announcement of the 10 projects, Nick Chism, global head of Infrastructure at KPMG and a partner in the UK firm, said: "Infrastructure development is one of the great global challenges of our time. The idea of the Infrastructure 100 is to showcase some of the exciting projects that are underway around the world to address this challenge. These are ambitious, yet essential projects. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with the 100 projects and, in particular, applaud the 10 that have been selected by the judges."

Infrastructure Journal editor Angus Leslie Melville said: "When you look at global investments in infrastructure – as we did with our five regional judging teams – it is breathtaking to witness the range of innovation and inspiration that has been harnessed to create real benefits to society.

"Through this project we sought to identify 100 truly exceptional projects and then narrow that down to the leaders in each of their sectors. The results speak for themselves – what a truly fascinating focus on such essential investments in the services that we all rely on daily."

Chief Executive Officer of Global Infrastructure and Project Group in South Africa, DeBuys Scott said four South African Infrastructure projects were selected in the top 100 projects. “These include the Gautrain rapid rail, Neotel, Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital with Project Mthombo, the PetroSA Crude Refinery earmarked for the Eastern Cape. These projects demonstrate the country's progressive thinking which will have a positive and long-term impact on the lives of all South Africans.” – I-Net Bridge

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