Posted on :Tuesday , 15th March 2016
GLOBAL oil company Puma Energy, which has over the past few years aggresively pushed into the competitive Zimbabwean fuel market, plans to expand its operations further into sub-Saharan Africa as it seeks growth opportunities in the region.
Having entered the African market in 2002, Puma is now recognised as the fastest growing midstream and downstream oil provider on the continent.
Since then, Puma has invested over US$2 billion in Africa and last year alone added 350 million litres of storage capacity to the 900 million litres it already had in the region.
To coincide with its official entry into the South African market last month, Puma invited media editors from across Africa - including the Zimbabwe Independent editor - to visit its offices in Sandton, Johannesburg, to exchange notes with high-profile oil industry experts.
The company also commissioned a report, titled The Changing Oil Landscape, compiled by macro-economist Russell Jones of Llewelyn Consulting in London, Britain. Jones also spoke to editors before addressing corporate executives.
The report finds that the demand for refined products is growing, driven by emerging markets and global needs for higher grade fuels.
"Growing markets and regional hubs imply increased global trade in this regard, transformative infrastructure development, such as storage terminals and transport infrastructure, is therefore a key necessity to address the evolving oil landscape," it says.
After hosting editors and South African corporate executives for a cocktail at Inanda Club in Sandton - the country's prime business district situated on the richest square mile in Africa - Puma said it was committed to investing in Africa and the region, including in Zimbabwe where it has been expanding rapidly.
"Puma Energy links local demand with international supply, through investment in infrastructure," company Chief Operating Officer Christophe Zyde said.
"We have invested significantly into Africa's oil and petroleum sector. Our investments underpin our commitment to the sustained economic and infrastructural development of the region."
Jonathan Molapo, sub-regional head for Puma Energy Africa, said: "We are positive about the impact our new terminal will have on further unlocking the potential of the Richard's Bay Port, the neighbouring Industrial Development Zone, and the KwaZulu-Natal region. The investment will enable Puma Energy to supply specifically non-blended product with no additives to the South African market."
Although Zimbabwe's economy is struggling, Puma has a strong presence in the country with 94 fuel service stations out of a total of 662 in Africa; second only to South Africa which has 123 service stations. The company also supplies fuel at four domestic airports out of the 29 it operates in Africa.
Dutch multi-national commodity trading giant Trafigura completed the acquisition of majority equity stakes in Redan and Sakunda, key players in the fuel retail sector before rebranding to Puma which it acquired in 2000, in what reflected serious interest in Zimbabwe's fuel sector.
Trafigura, trading as Puma, entered the Zimbabwean market end of 2013 by acquiring a 60% equity stake in Redan Petroleum and Sakunda.
Puma is a global integrated midstream and downstream oil company active in over 49 countries.
Formed in 1997 in Central America, Puma Energy has since expanded its activities worldwide, achieving rapid growth, diversification and product line development.