CREDIT: File photo
Johannesburg - Energy group Puma Energy plans to increase its market share in the South African fuel sector from the current 3 percent to 8 percent by 2021, irrespective of whether it acquires assets from oil multinationals.

The company’s chief operations officer Jonathan Molapo on Wednesday told Business Report that Puma would want to compete against established oil companies such as Shell South Africa, Engen Petroleum, BP Southern Africa, Chevron South Africa and Sasol - which have built an extensive retail network in South Africa - for a slice of the country's fuel stake. “We want to be a positive disrupter. We are here to stay,” said Molapo.

Puma Energy last month started supplying aviation fuel to OR Tambo International Airport. The company has a fuel storage facility in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, which it said had been built by Bidvest Tank Terminals in response to increased demand for refined products.

It also has a 110 million litres storage terminal in Matola, Mozambique.

“We link global supply to local demand through investment in infrastructure. We are not afraid to invest,” said Molapo.

The company, which has presence in 29 African countries, entered the South African market through the acquisitions of Brent Oil and Drakensberg Oil in 2015.

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“These acquisitions have led to a significant expansion of our operations in South Africa and we continue to invest in the market to grow our retail network and our storage capacity,” he said.

Getting into the South African market was a milestone.

“If you want to be in Africa, you must have presence in three markets - South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria,” he said.

While it had entered other markets in Africa through acquisition of disposed assets of oil majors, Puma opted to acquire small oil companies in South Africa because the big oil companies were not selling their assets.

“These acquisitions gave us between 2.5 percent and 3 percent market share. The idea now is to grow aggressively. We are looking at investing heavily,” he said. Puma Energy's retail network stands at 145 retail outlets. “That is not a lot. But in 2017 we plan to add another 80,” said Molapo.

Puma Energy entered the African market in Congo-Brazzaville in 2002, before expanding into countries such as Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. It has previously acquired downstream assets from BP and Chevron.