Trafigura-Backed Puma Expands Africa Fuel Storage by a Third

  • Demand rising on increased transportation and energy use
  • Company sees South Africa as target for future investment

Puma Energy, whose largest shareholder is commodity trader Trafigura Beheer BV, will increase its fuel-storage capacity in sub-Saharan Africa by more than a third this year to meet rising demand.

The fuel supplier will add 350 million liters (92.5 million gallons) of capacity to the 900 million liters it already has in the region, Christophe Zyde, chief operating officer for Puma Energy’s African business, said in an interview. The expansion spans the continent from an aviation-fuel depot in Ghana to an oil-product terminal in Mozambique.

Demand growth in Africa is accelerating as transportation increases and energy use expands, attracting international investment in the fuel industry. Engen Petroleum, a unit of Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd, said this month it would build a fuel terminal in Namibia, after opening a similar site in Mozambique a month earlier.

Puma Energy is still considering further projects and sees South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy, as a target for investment, Zyde said. Burgan Cape Terminals Ltd. is building a fuel-storage facility in Cape Town, which is due to be completed in early 2017.

“There is a need for imported product, there is a need for infrastructure, so that’s where we start getting in,” he said at Puma’s offices in Johannesburg. The company’s 110 million-liter mixed-product import terminal opening next month in Matola, Mozambique, is situated to supply its southern neighbor with cleaner fuels, he said.

Luanda Terminal

While almost half of Puma’s 15 new storage projects this year are aviation-fuel depots, its flagship development remains the expansion of a terminal in Angola’s Luanda Bay, where the company will double the 80 million-liter capacity by year-end. “We might then add an additional 117 million liters next year, bringing total capacity to 277 million liters,” Zyde said.

Trafigura has an almost 49 percent stake in Puma. Commodity traders and their affiliates are buying and developing energy-infrastructure assets to complement their trading businesses as the plunge in oil prices constrains capital spending by producers.

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