Sunday, June 16, 2024

Rasesa facility to become nerve centre of BOL operations

With the official launch of Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) last Tuesday, a multi-million pula facility at the foot of a hill range in Kgatleng will become the nation’s lifeblood.

The P750 million bulk petroleum strategic storage depot at Tshele Hills, about five kilometers west of Rasesa village off the Gaborone-Francistown (A1) highway, will be used to store both strategic and commercial stocks as well as serve as a future cross-border fuel supply terminal.

Its total combined storage capacity is 149 000m3, comprising 100 000m3 for mogas (unleaded petrol), 45 000m3 for gasoil (500ppm diesel) and 4000m3 for domestic/illuminating paraffin.

The depot consists of a tank farm with large vertical atmospheric pressure steel tanks for petrol, diesel and paraffin, a product-loading siding/gantry for rail and road tankers, a train (rail tankers) offloading siding and a road off-loading bay, a fire-fighting service station, a business administration block, railway office and a security gate house, incoming/outgoing road tankers parking bay with an access road into the main yard, nine residential staff houses and other ancillary units.

Construction of the facility has not yet started but according to BOL’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Ludo Mokotedi, the groundbreaking will take place soon.

She said that as with all other facilities of similar nature owned by the government, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources woulf fund construction and hand over the depots to BOL to manage.

The same arrangement was used for the fuel storage depot in Gaborone West Industrial along Haille Sellassie Road.

In his 2014/15 budget speech, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo said that the Tshele Hills initiative has the potential to enhance security in the operations of industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and transport from disruptions of oil and petroleum supplies.

BOL will procure petroleum products on behalf of the government as part of diversification of fuel sources envisioned in National Development Plan 10.

It will do this by establishing and overseeing a network of depots, storage facilities and supply routes. It will also establish relations with other national oil companies.

With the Rasesa and another facility in Francistown, the government hopes to increase the national strategic reserve from the current 22 days to 60 days, although the overall plan is to reach 90 days.

Botswana has negotiated with Mozambique and Namibia for fuel supplies. Botswana consumes 850 million litres of petroleum products annually, and almost all petroleum products are imported from South Africa and some small quantities from Namibia.

In order to increase the share of bio-fuels in the energy sector and with Japanese support, the government has also initiated a five-year research project on production of biodiesel from Jatropha crop.

BOL comes to being at a time that the privatisation of state enterprises is beginning to gather pace.

Two weeks ago, the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited announced that it will launch its initial public offering next month.

BOL’s Chief Executive Officer, Willie Mokgatlhe, has also announced that the parastatal will hive off some of its shareholding (49 percent according to government policy) and offer them to citizens in its own privatisation process that will be undertaken when the company starts doing well.

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