An appetite for oil

Tshepo Kehimile

As part of their mandate to increase citizen participation in the fuel supply value chain, Botswana Oil Limited’s (BOL) newly signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Debswana is tipped to provide new opportunities for Batswana.

Highlighting the five-year deal’s finer details, BOL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Meshack Tshekedi revealed the agreement was struck in August and includes the delivery of 600 million litres of diesel.

“The essence of the contract is that Botswana Oil and Debswana are entering into a partnership in which BOL will supply Debswana’s Orapa, Jwaneng, Letlhakane, and Damtshaa mines with diesel for their operations,” explained Tshekedi, speaking at the BOL Editor’s Forum in Gaborone recently.

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The CEO is convinced the partnership can help Botswana’s economy.

“It will create an opportunity for citizen participation in the fuel supply value chain at a scale bigger than has ever been done in the country. It will also present opportunities for support services in the value chain, such as: truck staging/truck stops, truck service, and maintenance, tyre services, and wash bays creating further jobs for Batswana,” he said.

Giving a brief background of Botswana’s oil industry, Tshekedi admitted access to petroleum products in rural areas was limited, while there was a monopoly in the importation and distribution of aviation fuel.

“Other hindering factors include limited investment in storage infrastructure, and no government and local control over import decisions,” he added.

BOL was established in 2013 to ensure the security and efficiency of fuel supply to Botswana and promote active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry.

“BOL runs training courses to equip participants will basic skills along the oil value chain, and the facilitation model of BOL is extensive as it follows four pillars which are; procurement, capacity building, supplier development program and enterprise development,” Tshekedi told Voice Money in a separate interview.

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BOL are poised to begin construction on a 187 million litre storage facility at Tshele Hills, a project expected to cost P3 billion and take two years to build, with completion scheduled for July 2025. It will be developed using Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model: Design, Finance, Build, Operate, Maintain, and Transfer.

An appetite for oil
BIG PLANS: Mosetlho Kenamile

Providing further insight into the ambitious Tshele Hills project, BOL General Manager Operations, Mosetlho Kenamile revealed this was a dream 14 years in the making.

“Between 2008 -2011, it was Feasibility Study for the Construction of Bulk Strategic Oil Storage Depots, the establishment of the NOC and pipeline pre-feasibility study by Shelter Consult. In the years 2017 – 2018, Tshele Hills Project was removed from National Development Plan (NDP) 10 because there was not enough funding to progress the remaining work packages.

“A year later, it was the presidential directive for the implementation of Tshele Project through the PPP methodology and later got reinstated in the NDP,” he explained.

Documenting the progress that has been made so far, Kenamile stated, “A Transaction Advisor was engaged in January 2021 to undertake the Feasibility Study/Investor Readiness Study and to facilitate procurement of the Private Party under a PPP Arrangement. Procurement commenced after the completion of the feasibility study with an Expression of Interest (EoI) which started in December 2021 and completed in March 2022. The objective of the EoI was mainly to test the responsiveness of the market and the outcome indicated there was a considerable appetite for the project.”

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