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Petromoc empowering Mozambique’s development

Interview - July 24, 2013
Nuno de Oliveira, CEO of Mozambique’s state-owned distributor of petroleum products Petromoc, discusses the company’s role in the nation’s development can be used as a “conversional or transformational instrument of local resources into something that can be utilised, in practice, for family and economic security, as well as for exports to create wealth and, most importantly, add value to our economy.”

The collaboration between the public and private sectors will be strengthened by the vision to utilise the new flow of natural resources to attain sustainable development. What is the place of Petromoc within this development model and what is its function for the future development of the country?

Petromoc can be found in all sectors in Mozambique, particularly in key sectors that define the performance of its economy. At the base of the country’s development is the agriculture sector, which could be industrialised and in turn would increase the demand for Petromoc’s products. For instance, an industrialised agriculture sector would need the fuel that the equipment utilises to guarantee commercial and industrial production. It is important to mention that there could not be mechanised agriculture without Petromoc being there to ensure that agriculture is, in fact, mechanised. The same applies to the finishing industry: the usage of vessels is necessary, and these also use Petromoc’s products, which are fuels and lubricants.

With regards to infrastructure, for the development of ports, construction of roads and bridges, etc., the base is always Petromoc, which ensures the supply of fuel for all the equipment that has to be used. There are several factors in relation to the role of Petromoc in tourism: from the functioning of rooms and basic services to supplying the fuel necessary for a fluid flow of tourists by land, air or water.

Our activity focuses on minerals from crude oil and gas. We guarantee the coal and we are the largest fuel provider to ensure coal exploration is done. We have the largest fuel storage facilities at the Vale complex in Moatize, which is the most utilised product to drive Vale’s machines – one of the largest trucks in the mining sector is used by Vale in Tete and its fuel is supplied by Petromoc.

There is talk regarding alternative sources of energy generation; we are working on a project regarding the transformation of coal that cannot be exported into liquid fuel. We want to create the conditions to obtain the largest benefit from our national resources and to show that we are present in all these areas.

We already have gas and it makes me proud to say that when we started gas production in Temane, the company that supplied Sasol from the start was Petromoc, where I was the first CEO and supplied fuel to this pipeline construction project in 2001. We have verified that from gas it is possible to do many other things: in addition to seeing if we can produce LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) starting from the gas or gas condensate, we aim to see what the possibility is of guaranteeing the LPG projects are developed. This is a project that is already running and there is a need to develop a GTL (gas-to-liquids) project. I went to present this project in London at a conference on GTL and renewable energies recently. We are also working on other production projects of methanol, which can be use in the production of fuels. All these projects are done in sync with ENH (National Hydrocarbon Company).

From a geopolitical point of view, can we say that Petromoc is the key player to grant energy security in Mozambique?

Certainly. We seek to create the conditions so that in the rural areas where we work, it is also possible to involve the communities and create jobs. But also, it can be said that Petromoc is an instrument to be used in the energy forefront to avoid shortages. Petromoc can be used as a conversional or transformational instrument of local resources into something that can be utilised, in practice, for family and economic security, as well as for exports to create wealth and, most importantly, add value to our economy.

What is the level of internationalisation of Petromoc and what are the types of foreign partnerships that Petromoc currently has and plans to pursue?

We have partnerships at several levels: IMPET, which is a fuels storage terminal, is one of our partners at the Beira port – there you have Petromoc, NOC and IFG from Kuwait; PetroBeira, which has participation from Petromoc and Tranfigura, a company with its headquarters in Switzerland; Somotor, which is 100% with Petromoc; PetroOut, a partnership between Petromoc and ECOMOC, with some private owners and South Africans, which works in the area of biofuels.

In addition, Proline is a project in partnership with South Africans for the construction of a pipeline from Mozambique to South Africa; and IBS, which works locally in IT with a partner company. We also have Whatana Auto and GreenRoad, specialised in logistics; AutoGas is a small company mainly formed by Petromoc and other private entities (beyond IGEPE – the Institute of Management of Government Participation – they more directed toward the generation of fuels for vehicles); and obviously Petromoc-Sasol.

These partnerships are older, but there exist others in negotiation like the one with AIREX from Malaysia, with the objective of producing lubricants locally. This project is almost ready – I will be going to Dubai and India to conclude this partnership. We have another project with the Japanese for the production of methanol; the localisation of the investment will depend on the accessibility of the gas, but in terms of availability, we have the backing of ENH for this activity. It is just a matter of moving forward in the coming times. There exist several other projects that are realistic in terms of profit and feasibility which will also take place soon.

You have held a leadership position since the beginning of Petromoc-Sasol and its creation, and have a holistic way of looking at energy-related matters and development. What does it means for you, taking into account your history, this return of self-esteem to Mozambicans?

To return the self-esteem to Mozambicans would be to create the conditions so that the resources the country possesses are valued in a way that benefits Mozambicans – what happens in other places is that the revenues from resources benefit a minority.

It is necessary to guarantee that after these resources are exported, the revenues return to the people, so that what is produced locally adds value to the socioeconomic development of entire regions.