To­tal plans to power SA

The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT - — WR.

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.

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