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Go Well…Go Galp Energia

The Swazi Observer – Mbabane, Swaziland

17 January, 2009 

Fanyana Mabuza

A number of long established automotive fuel suppliers in the country are steadily leaving these shores.

Latest to pack its bags and quit the country is Royal Dutch Shell, also Shell Plc which has traded in the country since the 70s.

Shell follows in the footsteps of British Petroleum BP, which has also decided to withdraw it investment in the country.

According to BP Southern Africa’s External Affairs Director Sam Mupanemunda, the England headquartered company decided to relocate its operations to focus in South Africa, as their presence was no longer viable economically, in the country.

Meanwhile, the Retail Manager for Galp Energia (Swaziland) Fannie Mthethwa in a statement confirmed the deal adding that they had even taken occupation of the Shell premises at Matsapha.

He mentioned that after the deal was clinched, Shell terminated contracts with its initial employees who were also given an option to apply for re-employment with the new company, as according to Section 33 of the country’s employment Act.

“Some of the employees opted to join Galp Energia while others sought greener pastures elsewhere. Those who opted to remain had to re-apply as they were being employed as from day one. “I can say as of now all of us are still in probation while the new company completes the transition phase and settles down.” he said.

The only petro-chemical company that still remains in the country from original players that included Sonap, Mobil, BP and Shell is French company Total, which still has a number of petrol stations still operational here.
Mobil changed its ownership and name during the sanctions era in South Africa, and it returned to the States where it originated. It was replaced by Engen.

Mobil used a winged horse for its logo, while Engen introduced a distinct three-dimensional ‘e’ sign, and retained the Mobil colours, which led to many people suspecting that Mobil had not really left, but the name change was simply a sanctions busting trick.

Such developments have seen a number of new players entering the market among them Excel, which has taken over a number of BP stations and Galp Energia which has entered into an agreement with Shell Plc, to take over its operations in the country. Galp Energia, is a Portuguese petroleum products entity, and its deal with Shell includes the latter’s operations in Swaziland, Mozambique and the Gambia.

The deal for all three countries is worth US$55 million, and fits Galp Energia’s strategy of increasing its presence in Africa capitalising on the good African relationship the company has maintained in exploration and production activities, while also opening the door to possible future partnerships in bio-fuels.

According to reports, this acquisition will allow a 45 percent increase on the volumes sold in the African downstream and will raise Galp Energia’s geographical diversification in the continent, while developing its business on the Mozambique-Swaziland- Cape Verde-Guinea Bissau-Gambia axis.

Galp Enregia’s regional focus in Africa also includes a third area being developed in Angola. On completion, as this is a sale of shares, all contractual and commercial terms of the companies, as well as existing employment contracts, will remain valid and the business will continue under new leadership.

Galp Energia currently markets oil products in Africa, namely in Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique.

In 2007 international sales grew by 38 percent with a total of 369 000 m3 being sold through retail, wholesale, Low Pressure Gas and lubricants.

SOURCE ARTICLE

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