CARBON black, a vital pigment used in tyre production, is seeing high demand, rising prices and squeezed supply across the European Union, a situation that has worsened by Russia’s attack on east Ukraine.
As the EU continues to scramble for supplies, Orion Engineered Carbons (OEC) announced its operations at Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) had started exporting carbon black products to Europe to fill the gap.
Corning Painter, Group Chief Executive for OEC said, “Our European customers are looking to replace approximately 40 percent of their carbon black needs that were served by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”
“The new exports are an example of how working together here in South Africa to solve local challenges can create opportunities for support elsewhere,” he said.
Painter said OEC was busy with upgrades to several key pieces of equipment, which are part of the manufacturer’s black oil tank investment project at Coega SEZ.
The R60-million oil tank investment project was announced at a sod turning ceremony in April. Over 7,000 people are employed in the tyre manufacturing value chain, and the Department of Trade, Investment, and Competition provided additional funding of R200-million to stave off job losses in the province, and to ensure continued production of carbon black in the Eastern Cape.
The project entails developing two 18,000m3 tanks for storing carbon black feedstock with ancillary infrastructure over a 10-month period. It’s estimated this upgrade will create about 150 jobs.
The project will see the liquid fuel storage facilities — Dom Pedro Tank Farm — relocating from the Port of Port Elizabeth to the Port of Ngqura. The Dom Pedro Terminal is due to close to liquid vessels at the end of December.