Oil giant Total aims for renewed retail growth across Southern Africa
Total South Africa is looking to grow both its lubricants and retail fuel business as well as restart the offshore oil exploration that it put on hold in 2014, CEO Pierre-Yves Sachet said after a visit to its bulk fuel and lubricant plants in Durban.
The report by Engineering News said Total SA has spent R70-million at its lubricant plant at Island View within the Durban port precinct over the past year to improve both quality and efficiencies ahead of its planned growth.
Sachet told Engineering News that, in addition to investing in the plant, Total had also invested in its people and processes, reorganising business channels within each of its business segments. The end result was a lubricants plant that is world class and compares with its operations in other countries in the world with similar facilities.
He said that, overall, Total was focusing on three main areas of development – lubricants; business-to-business sales of fuel, which includes general trade and sales to resellers and the mining industry; and expanding its retail footprint through opening at least 20 new service stations in South Africa during 2018.
“Being one of the strong leaders in this market is a reasonable goal,” Sachet commented.
He pointed out that the company plans to increase its 550 station network to 800 stations within the next five years through organic growth, partnerships and acquisitions.
Total South Africa is currently best represented in Gauteng, the Cape and the North West and, although it will continue to invest in these high-growth areas, he said the plan was to develop a more representative national footprint.
At the same time, he said Total would be installing solar panels at more than 60 fuel stations by the end of this year. “We want to complete the entire network within the next five years as part of the group ‘s worldwide strategy.”
“Our goal as a responsible major is to increase our footprint in solar production in the country,” he said.
Similarly, he said Total was watching developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and particularly projects in Richards Bay and Coega, with “a lot of interest”. As the number two player in the global LNG space, Total sees investment potential in this area.