Home » South African tycoon Fleetwood Grobler-led Sasol entangled in $70-million lawsuit

South African tycoon Fleetwood Grobler-led Sasol entangled in $70-million lawsuit

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Fleetwood Grobler

Sasol, the prominent integrated energy and chemicals group led by South African businessman Fleetwood Grobler, finds itself entangled in a $70-million lawsuit filed by the state-owned logistics company, Transnet.

As per recent reports, Transnet has initiated a multimillion-dollar lawsuit to recover R1.28 billion ($70 million) from Sasol and TotalEnergies for alleged underpayment of tariffs linked to the transportation of crude oil.

Transnet’s lawsuit targets R815 million ($45 million) from Sasol and R461 million ($25 million) from TotalEnergies for using the state-owned company’s pipeline infrastructure.

The legal action follows the annulment of an apartheid-era variation agreement that had permitted companies to avail discounted tariffs for utilizing Transnet’s pipelines.

Transnet, which presently holds the license to operate the petroleum pipeline system, contends that concessions on tariffs can only be granted with the approval of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

Sasol is an integrated energy and chemicals group headquartered in Sandton, South Africa’s affluent Gauteng Province. It is a major producer of liquid fuels, chemicals, and electricity and a well-known developer of technologies such as synthetic fuels.

Under the leadership of Grobler, president and CEO of Sasol, the South African group operates in 33 countries and employs 30,100 people globally.

In recent times, Grobler has been driving Sasol’s transition toward cleaner and renewable energy strategies.

Despite operating as the nation’s second-largest polluter, Sasol has set its sights on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, a challenging objective given its robust operations that entail the production of synthetic fuel and chemicals sourced from coal.

Grobler, a minority shareholder in Sasol, acknowledged the formidable obstacles to achieving the net-zero emissions goal by 2050. He acknowledged that the process would begin with addressing coal-related challenges, which have been integral to the company’s operations since its establishment in 1950. 

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