Shell, BP move to acquire two petroleum firms in Rwanda

The firms are set to join a market, which currently has about 20 active players by acquiring existing operators.

Two renowned global oil and gas firms, Shell and BP Plc, are in the process of acquiring leading petroleum dealers in Rwanda in two separate deals. 

The firms are set to join a market, which currently has about 20 active players by acquiring existing operators.

Royal Dutch Shell, through its African operation, Vivo Energy, is in an advanced talks to acquire all Engen operations, including its service stations in Rwanda.

Vivo Energy’s entry follows its acquisition of Engen Oil’s assets in nine African countries, including Rwanda.

Vivo Energy, established in 2011, distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants.

Rwanda’s Engen-branded service stations will become part of Vivo Energy, raising the acquirer’s service stations to over 2,100 across the continent. Engen currently has over 300 Engen-branded service stations across the continent.

BP Plc—formerly British Petroleum—is also in talks to acquire majority stake in one of the leading importers and distributers of petroleum products,  sources privy to the deal told The New Times.

Petroleum is one of the most lucrative industries in Rwanda, based on official trade statistics. While petroleum products are one of the country’s leading imports, in volume and value, they are also one of its top re-exports. 

Last year, Rwanda spent $232 million on the importation of 300, 000 tonnes of fuel and lubricants.   Oil imports account for an estimated 25 per cent of Rwanda’s total import costs.

Petroleum products are also one of Rwanda’s re-exports with 2017 volumes standing at 156000 tonnes compared to 112400 tonnes in the previous year, central bank statistics indicate.

According to statistics from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, the country has about twenty active oil-marketing companies involved in the importation, transportation, storage, distribution and wholesale of petroleum products.

The demand for petroleum is projected to grow to 640,000m3/per annum by 2020, up from 360,000m3/per annum in 2016, reflecting growing opportunities for investors.

The Government has been seeking for private sector investments in oil storage to cater for growing demand.

Increased investment would also raise the country’s fuel storage capacity and cushion the economy against any shocks. Official statistics show that total fuel storage capacity is 74 million litres, split among five depots in Rwanda, which is equivalent to close to three months of import cover.