Trends in the bunkering sectorOctober 19, 2022
Sérgio Paulo dos Santos Silva, general manager of Grupo CH, talks to The Energy Year about trends in the bunkering sector and the company’s plans to increase their market share in the maritime bunkering business and become more involved in the construction of energy-related infrastructure. Grupo CH specialises in civil construction, road fuel transport and maritime fuel bunkering.
What trends in bunkering support your expansion in this sector?
We are in a good moment. There is potential for Angola to become a bunkering hub. We are seeing the construction of the Luanda Refinery, Barra do Dande terminal and the Cabinda Refinery. We are seeing a lot of optimism because Angola has finally made it.
We also share this optimism. We are also getting ready for a tender in the bunkering segment to service the Barra do Dande inland oil terminal and as general support to the oil industry. We are in touch with the Ministry of Petroleum to understand the requirements.
What are your plans for increasing your market share in the bunkering business?
We are on the verge of purchasing a new ship, in around Q1 2023. We have been in the maritime fuel-bunkering sector for the past nine years with our own vessel, which we own under a partnership with another company. Buying a ship requires time. A ship is a very specific purchase, as it has to fit our demands. We are betting on this sector.
We work with the Ministry of Fishing and offer bunkering services to semi-industrial fishing vessels. We are also stretching our capacity so we can fulfil different demands, which is why we are purchasing a new ship in early 2023.
How does the company plan to become more involved in the construction of energy-related infrastructure?
We recently established a consortium with Queiroz Galvão, a construction company that does many projects in the energy sector. We are eager to start working in this sector, but we do not yet have a concrete project. We had a few proposals in the past from the Ministry of Petroleum, and we participated in a project with Queiroz Galvão to build a dam. We are trying to initiate a project in renewable fuels with Queiroz Galvão.
What is the company’s footprint in the inland fuel transport and distribution business?
Currently, we are working with Sonangol, through a contract with Sonangalp. We worked with Pumangol in the past. The contract with Sonangalp started with five trucks. Now we will increase the number of trucks to 12. In this segment, we started with only two trucks, and today we have 32. Fuel in Angola was solely transported by Sonangol in the past, but since they were unable to satisfy demand, they had to hire partners. That is how we started, and we’ve been working in fuel transport since 2012.
Moreover, we have the infrastructure and the logistics to transport and distribute fuel in Benguela. We are very enthusiastic about the Lobito Refinery project. It will be of great value to all of us.
Do you have any plans to expand your truck fleet?
We plan to increase the fleet in 2023. We are speaking with a Swedish company about increasing this fleet. Our current fleet is Volkswagen, and we want to move to Volvo. Everything is in place for us to purchase 30 new trucks.
Please give us an overview of the group’s activities.
We started working as a group in 2007. We are currently present in the construction, fuel, bunkering, car rental and security sectors. Due to the volatility of the economy, some sectors are doing well, while others are not doing so well.
The bunkering along with the whole energy sector are our two most important challenges because they represent the future. There is a great opportunity in the security segment too. The challenges faced by companies in the energy sector will generate demand for new services, and companies like ours have to pay attention to such demands.
In the whole group, we have around 330 employees, with the security sector comprising around 200 of these employees. The rest is divided among the other business units.
What are your ongoing construction projects?
We work on a project basis. We are currently working on a new project in Lucala along with Queiroz Galvão in a consortium. We are conducting the executive project for the Lucala bridge in Cuanza Norte. It is a EUR 16-million project.
We have other ongoing projects for the AJT [General Tax Administration Department]. We will build a few industrial units at Baía Farta for them.