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Botswana oil to localise industry

Botswana oil to localise industry

Over 300 citizen owned fuel tankers needed

The rising concern over energy security has prompted Botswana Oil (BOL) to take drastic measures to secure the country’s petroleum supplies for the future.

BOL, a company wholly owned by the government was established in 2013 to achieve the Botswana government’s broader economic objective of ensuring security of fuel supply and facilitating active citizen participation in the petroleum industry.

This formation was driven by the partial exit of multi-national companies like BP and Shell, coupled with the infamous fuel shortage in 2010.

At a Transportation workshop held at Thapama Hotel on Tuesday, BOL General Manager Meshack Tshekedi told stakeholders that with Botswana consuming 1.2 billion litres of petroleum products per annum it is imperative for locals to be actively involved in the running of the industry.

“Fuel products are a significant factor in the economy and Batswana consumes over a billion litres annually of which are imported,” Tshekedi said.

He further added that almost all of the petroleum products are sourced via South Africa with small quantities coming from Mozambique and Namibia.

The GM revealed that they have applied for an exclusive import licence, which will enable them to adequately execute their mandate of diversifying the economy away from traditional dependency on diamond revenue.

“BOL’s objectives among others include addressing the need to accelerate the coal based industrialisation drive in order to ensure future economic growth,” he said.

Tshekedi said that from inception one of Botswana Oil’s objectives was to address lack of active participation by citizens in the local petroleum industry.

Although BOL is currently focused on marketing, they will in future look into exploring other opportunities in the industry.

“We are currently negotiating with international suppliers (loading terminals) to open for our local transporters to have access to their facilities,” he said.

Tshekedi told a well-attended workshop that the intention is to promote fair competition and equal access to opportunities and resources in the industry.

“We want to create an enabling environment for the sustainable participation of Citizen Emerging Companies (CECs),” said Tshekedi.

This, Tshekedi said BOL will achieve through the facilitation of financial and skills capacity building for CECs in order to attract increased investment.

Sharing the same sentiments is Head of Supply Operations, Thabo Simon who noted that BOL expects full import mandate in the near future and will continue to move the product by rail and road to manage risk.

“We’ll engage transporters through a competitive formal request for quotation proposal,” Simon said.

He told the audience at the workshop that there are numerous opportunities in the transportation business that they could explore.

“Citizens can buy trucks which will be contracted to deliver oil on behalf of BOL and the same can be arranged with rail transport,” he said.

Simon said transportation could be from the sources like Mozambique or transporting from a depot to the customer.

“Other opportunities include clearing and forwarding, maintenance and repair, training and support,” Simon said.

At the time of going to print BOL was to appear before Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority where their application for an exclusive import license would be assessed.