Total plans to power SA
TOTAL South Africa wants to open hundreds more forecourts to sell crude oil-based fuel, as well as win contracts to supply solar-generated power and liquified gas to the country.
Total SA CEO Pierre-Yves Sachet told media during a visit to its bulk fuel and lubricant plants in the Durban harbour the company had over the past year invested R70 million in its grease and oil plant at Island View in the Durban port to improve both quality and efficiencies ahead of expected growth in the lubricant market.
At the plant, Total staff blend up to four million litres of oil a month each month, which is sold directly to ships in harbour and exported within the Southern African Development Community region as well as far afield as Madagascar.
To grow its 15% market share in SA, Sachet said the company plans to open 20 new service stations in South Africa in the next six months.
In the next five years, Sachet said the plan is increase the current 550 station network to 800 stations.
This flies in the face of car companies announcing plans to bring out more electric vehicles in the next five years, but Sachet said the crude oil company is monitoring developments in the green energy sector and has made solar a priority investment area for the group.
As part of its mission “to supply affordable, reliable and clean energy to as many people as possible”, Total is taking part in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and Total hopes to be awarded projects to build solar farms and supply liquefied natural gas.
Total and SunPower have built the Prieska photovoltaic solar power plant in South Africa. It supplies the equivalent of 75 000 South African homes with electricity (86 MW).
As the second largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, Total also sees investment potential in this area. Sachet said Total would resume drilling at its deep-water well, which is 175 km off the KZN coast, by the first quarter of 2019.
The low crude oil price in 2014 saw Total, as well as Royal Dutch Shell, put oil exploration off South Africa on hold.