Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) says the country is currently facing a challenge of inadequate national storage capacity infrastructure for petroleum products. This was revealed by BOL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Willie Mokgatlhe on Monday at the storage and distribution forum, which was held in conjunction with African Refiners Association (ARA).
Other challenges that the country is facing are skills shortages, limited understanding of financial instruments, limited participation by citizens in the petroleum sector as well as disintegrated supply volumes which end up causing lack of bargaining power. Mokgatlhe added that there are risks associated with dominance of multinational oil companies as well as inequitable supply and distribution of petroleum products in rural areas. He however explained that BOL was established to ensure security of supply of petroleum products and support economic development. He further said BOL was set up as a private company to ensure efficiencies in fuel supplies into Botswana.
“BOL will drive infrastructure development in the petroleum sector and build strong regional partnerships. Diversification of sources and route of petroleum products as well as citizen empowerment are our key priorities,” said Mokgatlhe.
In future, BOL will ensure citizen economic empowerment by listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and putting up 49 percent of its shares for sale to the public.
“BOL will contribute to government’s economic diversification drive as citizen companies will be facilitated into the petroleum sector throughout the value chain,” said Mokgatlhe.
Externally, Mokgatlhe said Botswana faces challenges of inadequate availability and supply of cleaner fuels, adding that there is over-reliance on a single source and route in South Africa, which however is facing a declining refining capacity. Addressing supply and distribution challenges, Mokgatlhe said there is need for legislative instruments like the Petroleum Products Supply Bill, which will enable the BOL business model.
“Capacity building and skills development are also key. It is important to consider diversification of sources and route of petroleum products, as well as mobile filling stations to address inequitable distribution of product,” he said.
Further, Botswana has embarked on a number of national projects aimed at attaining security of supply, such as coal/gas to liquid and the development of infrastructure at Tshele Hills. He added that establishing and strengthening strategic partnerships and consolidation of volumes to achieve economies of scale are other ways of addressing challenges.