Luba Oil Terminal Equatorial Guinea (LOTEG) is looking to expand fuel storage services to the mainland and neighboring countries via two new projects underway and the construction of fuel stations in the city of Malabo. Energy Capital & Power spoke with LOTEG's general manager, Pergentino Mba Nguema Alene, about the impact of COVID-19 on the company and its post-pandemic prospects.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON LOTEG'S ACTIVITIES IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA?
LOTEG has been operating in the hydrocarbon sector in Equatorial Guinea since 2002, specifically supporting offshore oil exploration, drilling and production operations, and providing products, diesel and lubricants as part of an uninterrupted, 24-hour support service. We supply diesel and lubricants to operating companies. Last year, business dropped significantly due to the pandemic. People's mobility has been greatly reduced. Obviously, demand also dropped significantly, which also affected the energy companies. If demand was at 80%, then it was reduced to less than 40%. If our monthly diesel demand was over 20,000 tons, it was reduced to 4,000-5,000 tons.
WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS THAT HAVE ENABLED LOTEG TO BECOME A LEADER IN THE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS SECTOR IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA?
The key factors driving LOTEG's growth have largely been:
- Preferred supplier to the region: Our deliveries have always been very timely. Our USI pipeline, the strategic location of our storage facility in the port of Luba and our large storage capacity help ensure that our customers are served at all times.
- The best partner: We have better legal advantages (free port), and our supply center is well located in terms of proximity to many destinations in the region. Price flexibility is another factor we value.
- Services offered: The services we offer meet all industry standards, including operations monitoring services and product loading and unloading rations. In the sale and supply of fuel, we comply with the quality, handling and operability specifications requested by the client. We have a laboratory for analysis and certification of products.
- Storage capacity: We have three storage tanks for the products of two units of 10,560 m³ and one SVD of 1,000 m³.
- Plant operating capacity: We have met all required international standards. We have a pumping capacity of 250 cubic meters per hour for ships and about 10 cubic meters for tankers (every five minutes). At our loading and unloading areas, we are able to supply two ships simultaneously.
IN WHAT SEGMENTS OF THE HYDROCARBON INDUSTRY DO YOU SEE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, NOT ONLY IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA, BUT ALSO IN THE REGION?
We believe we can expand our business in the service sector, including the supply of hydrocarbons, diesel, fuel and lubricants. As we expand our operations on the mainland - with two projects that include the expansion of the Luba plant and the construction of a new plant on the mainland - we will need to build a pipeline from the commercial port of Luba to our plant so that we can store gasoline. This will allow us to provide not only offshore exploration and production, but also to provide assistance to companies on the mainland. We might even be able to enter the international market and neighboring countries like Cameroon or Gabon to compete with other supply companies, so that our business can grow. We are currently building two service stations in the city of Malabo to gain a foothold in distribution,