Puma Energy Zimbabwe goes green

DIVERSIFIED energy group, Puma Energy Zimbabwe is gearing up to play a significant part in the energy transformation, as it implements its plan to solarise 17 service stations across the country, businessdigest can report.

In June last year, Puma Energy — which has a presence in six continents — set a target to install 200 solar projects across its global network.

By the end of the third quarter last year, 150 solar projects had been installed and were being operated by Puma Energy, according to the group’s quarterly financial results for the three-month period ended September 30 2022.

Among the 150 solar projects, 148 were across retail stations, which represent 31% of the 467 company-owned stations where solar installations were commercially and technically feasible.

“Puma Energy is gearing up to play a key role in the energy transition,” Puma Energy Zimbabwe general manager Donatien Kodog told businessdigest.

“We will be making significant investments to achieve this and have set a target aiming to derive 30% of our EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) in Africa from clean and transition fuels by the end 2027.

“Initiatives are already underway to provide solar solutions for our service stations and to roll out solar solutions to our commercial and industrial customers.

“Seventeen stations in Zimbabwe will be solarised this year and we have begun to work on providing solar solutions for clients in the industrial and mining sectors amongst others that have already placed their trust in us.”

He added: “In order to reduce costs and service delivery challenges caused by extended power cuts, we are looking at installing alternative power solutions (mainly solar) to power our service stations.

“By installing these systems at our own assets, we are building expertise in the renewable energy market, which positions us to help our larger industrial and commercial customers install lower carbon and clean technologies.”

Investments in green energy have gained traction since the threat of climate change increased in the past decade, with countries taking steps to get out of fossil fuels in order to conserve the environment.

In Zimbabwe, the strategy is being driven by the country’s energy policy, which has encouraged firms to invest in independent hydroelectric power facilities.

The policy has also encouraged investment in solar-powered electricity facilities. This push has seen the financial services sector players like Old Mutual entering the energy sector.

Puma’s solar power strategy will be crucial in dealing with the country’s grinding blackouts, which some industrialists estimate will cost the economy US$4 billion this year. Plans are currently underway for the energy group to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for households and wholesalers.

“Promoting convenient access to LPG is important because it is a cleaner, lower carbon fuel than many of the alternatives such as kerosene, charcoal and wood,” Kodog pointed out.

Puma also made an investment of US$7 million last year on new service stations.

“We successfully completed our Sunway, Chinamano and Highland Park projects. This year, our ambition is to continue this trend as we acquire and construct new sites and upgrade facilities in our existing network,” Kodog said.

He indicated that the energy sector has become competitive with many players entering the field.

“The market in Zimbabwe is becoming increasingly competitive, with many more players competing for the same customers,” Kodog said.

“Our priority is putting the customer at the centre of everything we do by consistently providing excellent service, ensuring a reliable supply and a diversified range of products in the most convenient locations.”

Puma Energy entered the Zimbabwean market in November 2013 by acquiring 60% of the ordinary shares of Redan Petroleum, a Zimbabwean fuel supply business and its business range from retail to business-to-business operations and also aviation where the company supplies fuel to major airports around Zimbabwe.

Puma Energy is a leading global business, safely providing energy across six continents.

The downstream business segments include fuels, aviation, lubricants and bitumen. Puma Energy has 1 998 retail sites and is present at 107 airports.

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