Petrol stations in Congo: 47
Long-term presence in CongoDecember 6, 2016
TOGY talks to Anne-Françoise Degryck, managing director of Total Congo, about the company’s proactive response to fuel shortages, efforts to develop local content and future investments in petrol stations. Present in the Republic of Congo since 1968, Total is the country’s leading E&P operator and second-biggest petroleum product retailer.
How has Total Congo developed in the business-to-consumer segment in 2016?
Our retail distribution branch deals in services and the distribution of fuel, lubricants and other oil products, and there have been significant developments concerning the services we offer.
We have opened six new petrol stations in 2016, having opened five the year prior. By the end of 2016 we will have a total of 47 stations in Congo, a third of which will be located in Brazzaville, an additional third in Pointe-Noire, and the rest will be distributed throughout the country.
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Our objective is to attract new clients by providing conveniently located fuel distribution and vehicle services. We also offer a vehicle washing service with modern technologies. In addition to this there are Total shops, and we have just launched a franchise of restaurants in partnership with the French company La Croissanterie. By the end of 2016, we will have eight restaurant areas in petrol stations that offer snacks and the kind of fast food service found in Europe. This will be the first such franchise in Congo – there are no other international franchises here.
How have business-to-business services been affected by the economic crises?
Due to the decrease in drilling activity, our market has been reduced, particularly where oil subcontractors are concerned.
Demand for business-to-business services has decreased as well, because many construction sites have less need for lubricants and fuel.
In this environment, we try to remain present, support our clients and adapt our financial perspective. There is still a strong market in lubricants, thanks to our technological innovations, which bring added value to the quality of the product.
How has Total Congo responded to fuel shortages?
Fuel shortages have been a regular occurrence in Congo, and the minister of hydrocarbons has created a commission with the mandate of finding a solution.
We have strongly contributed to the provision of fuel in the country. We began the process in December 2015, when a fuel shortage had lasted for weeks and the refinery was closed for maintenance. Our proposal to import more fuel was immediately authorised by the government, in accordance with regulations. The target was to meet the needs of customers and provide the products required to keep prices stable.
What is the company’s approach to local content?
We are engaged in developing and empowering our staff. In 2016 we implemented a Young Managers programme – a type of support for corporate training, targeted at petrol stations. Another programme is called Young Graduates. At the moment there are six Young Graduates in Congo, and one each in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and soon in Cameroon. Each spends six months here. A young man from Chad also takes part in the programme.
Could you describe the outlook for Total’s downstream business in Congo?
Privatisation began in 2002, but we have been present in the country for nearly 50 years, and our primary goal is to remain for the next 50 years. In spite of the crises and the general situation of the country, we believe in our presence in Congo and will continue to contribute products to the market. We will succeed through persistence.
Our new stations represent an important investment, the level of which we will maintain in 2017, because we believe in the value of sustainable projects. In five years, we imagine that the number of stations will have increased.
In an effort to support the market and meet our clients’ needs for safety stock, we have also imported certain requested products. We want to continue to develop, to diversify our activities and invest in training for our personnel.
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