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State oil company PetroSA said on Friday it had terminated its chief executive officer’s contract, after placing her on special leave alongside two other executives to allow an investigation into their performance.

PetroSA said in a statement that it had reached an agreement with Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, but the terms were confidential.

“I am not in a position to say anything beside what is stated in the press release,” spokesperson Thabo Mabaso said.

The investigation on the three executives was triggered by declining revenues at the firm, which operates the world’s third-largest gas-to-liquid refinery at Mossel Bay.

The firm had failed in its bid to enter the fuel retail market, and also reported a loss of R1.2bn in its 2013/14 financial year.

The firm, which sells petrochemical products to South Africa’s major oil companies and also exports to international markets, has previously said it would reduce its workforce by about 40% to cut costs.

PetroSA announced this week that it is offering its employees voluntary severance packages to reduce operating costs.

“We realised that we cannot achieve the desired cost-saving targets without having to look at our operational costs,” PetroSA’s acting group CEO, Mapula Modipa, said in a statement.

PetroSA’s decision to offer severance packages came amid plummeting oil prices and feedstock challenges for the company’s gas-to-liquids refinery in Mossel Bay.

Partnership options for national oil company PetroSA does not mean selling off state assets, Modipa said on Thursday.

“It rather means a cost-effective means of diversifying risks with identified partners and driving revenue and value creation for the company,” said Modipa.

Reacting to recent media reports that the company allegedly intends to sell off equity in some of its exploration blocks, she indicated that PetroSA is looking to leverage partnerships to ensure the supply of liquid fuels for South Africa.

Source: Reuters and Fin24

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