Puma Energy is looking at opportunities to penetrate the distribution of retail fuel market in Botswana and says it is attracted to Africa by its insatiable appetite for the downstream fuel supply.
“Botswana is still supplied from South Africa. We are looking at opportunities to penetrate the market,” said Chief Operating Officer, Christophe Zyde at the launch of the company’s annual ‘White paper,’ which reviews Africa’s economies. A subsidiary of Trafigura, Puma Energy took over BP assets in Botswana in 2010 and invested heavily and currently supplies major mines and Botswana civil aviation authority. Puma Energy took over BP in five countries and operates retail businesses in seven countries and has 320 retail stations in African countries it operates in, at a total volume of 0.6 million cubic metres. Africa accounts for about 40 percent of Puma’s global business, which is spread in 35 countries.
“Africa is a big piece of our development,” declares Zyde. The oil company attributes its impressive growth to delivery of quality service and competitive pricing. In Zyde’s view, Puma Energy’s competitiveness is also attributed to its commitment to satisfying clients. “Fuel is important. We are committed to ensuring that we do not run Debswana (Diamond Mine) dry. They operate 24/7 – without fuel and this will affect production.” Puma has identified Botswana as a major area of investment. The landlocked country with a stable economy and a growing middle class has attracted the oil giant. Botswana houses depot activities, aviation, mining and retail services for Puma. Despite its small population Botswana has performed impressively, according to Puma Energy.
With a little over three million people the country has a huge appetite for fuel and consumes equal volume of fuel consumed by its neighbour, Zambia, which has a larger population of 13 million. “There is as huge demand for downstream business in Africa,” said Dennis Charazain, Puma Energy Chief Financial Officer. “We invest in a country where we have synergies with international markets and improve local demand,” Chazarain said. For his part, Puma Energy Botswana General Manager, Mahube Mpugwa said his company built a fuel storage facility at Maun airport in an effort to demonstrate the commitment the company has in taking leadership in the supply of aviation fuel.
“We were then awarded another tender at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.” Puma Energy employs over 6000 people in its midstream and downstream oil group active in Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East and Asia. Latest records show that in 2013 throughput volume reached 29 million cubic metres in the midstream business. The company expects sales volumes tot exceed 13 million cubic metres.