New Multi-Products Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

New Multi-Products Pipeline is an oil pipeline in South Africa.[1] The New Multi-Products Pipeline will replace the old Durban-to-Johannesburg line.


The underground pipeline runs from Durban to Gauteng, South Africa. The New Multi-Products Pipeline which will replace the Durban to Johannesburg line, runs from the Island View fuel storage complex in Durban past Clairwood Racecourse and the western side of the old Durban International Airport. It continues along South Coast Road towards Umbogintwini. Between Umbogintwini and eManzimtoti it turns towards Pietermaritzburg, passing through KwaMakhuta and Umbumbulu. From there it follows the existing Durban-Joburg pipeline before turning to Jameson Park, near Heidelberg.[2]

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Project Details

  • Operator: TransNet[1]
  • Current capacity: 100,000 barrels per day
  • Proposed capacity:
  • Length: 555 kilometers
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 2012


Planning for the pipeline project began in 2005, to replace the aging Durban-to-Johannesburg Pipeline. In December 2007, Transnet Pipelines (a division of Transnet SOC Ltd) received a licence from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to construct and operate the NMPP from Durban to Gauteng. Three types of fuel will be transported along this pipeline, namely gasoline/petrol (both unleaded 93 octane and unleaded 95 octane), diesel (both low-sulphur diesel and ultra-low-sulphur diesel) and jet fuel.[1]

First fuel began going through the pipeline in 2012, and ramped up to full capacity through 2014. The pipeline cost R23.4-billion to build, leading to pipeline tariff increases.[3] The cost of the pipeline was nearly double the estimated cost at the start of the project.[4]

The new pipeline system measures 550 kilometers and consists of pumping stations at Durban, Maritzburg and at the base of Van Reenen’s Pass, along with a large tank farm and distribution center. The pipeline itself had been planned for over 10 years since the old pipeline had become too corroded due to age. The line crosses 49 rivers, including the Vaal, and 481 sensitive wetlands over 100 kilometers.[5]


In 2010, residents of Adams Mission, near Amanzimtoti, protested that the pipeline posed a health and safety hazard. Some residents were resisting because they also felt that Transnet took advantage of high rate of illiteracy in the community. The residents claimed they were poorly informed of the type of pipeline being laid and thus refused to sign a a temporary servitude agreement. Other residents decried the construction which caused damage to homes and were angry at a lack of compensation, despite Transnet's prior agreements.[6]

Additionally, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance called for a halt in the construction until a proper environmental assessment was conducted and violations of the National Environmental Management Act were reversed. The organization also stated that communities had not been properly consulted.[6]

After the spill from the old pipeline in Hillcrest, residents of Adams Mission grew increasingly worried about the potential for a similar spill from the new pipeline. During the early planning stages of NMPP pipeline, it was mapped to run parallel to the old one, putting it directly under the Hillcrest community as before. However, the Hillcrest community, a wealthy and predominantly white community, were able to effectively resist the pipeline's placement, causing it to be rerouted through poorer, black communities. Unlike Hillcrest, these communities did not have the power to permanently halt the line or to cause it be rerouted away from urban areas. If a pipeline leak similar to Hillcrest occurred, the high population density and geographical layout of Adams Mission would make the cleanup extremely difficult and the devastation far more severe than in Hillcrest.[7]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 New Multi-Products Pipeline, Transnet, accessed September 2017
  2. Sphelele Ngubane,"Residents worry about new fuel pipeline", IOL, December 30, 2014
  3. "First fuel begins to flow through SA's new R23bn fuel pipeline," Engineering News, Jan 11, 2012
  4. S.Africa's Transnet launches $2.9 bln fuel pipeline, Reuters, January 11, 2012
  5. David Carte, World’s most expensive fuel arrives in Gauteng, Moneyweb, January 11, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gugu Mbonambi, "People Power Halts Pipeline", IOL, August 11, 2010
  7. Sphelele Ngubane,"Residents worry about new fuel pipeline", IOL, December 30, 2014

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