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Forecourt Africa unites petroleum players at Petro.T.ex Africa 2011

 Next year’s Petro.T.ex Africa exhibition will, for the first time, unite petroleum refineries and forecourt retailers – two interlinked components of South Africa’s petroleum industry – under one roof.

p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"> Next year’s Petro.T.ex Africa exhibition will, for the first time, unite petroleum refineries and forecourt retailers – two interlinked components of South Africa’s petroleum industry – under one roof.

Traditionally targeted at only the major players in the refining sector, Petro.T.ex takes on a new dimension in 2011 with the addition of Forecourt Africa, a show-within-a-show that combines the interests of both fuel producers and fuel retailers.


Petro.T.ex Africa, which takes place from 7 to 9 June 2011 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, will provide a holistic overview of the petroleum industry and highlight new developments and challenges that face this important sector, which in 2009 contributed 2 per cent of South Africa’s GDP, supplied about 18 per cent of South Africa’s primary energy, and manufactured more than 90 per cent of the country’s petroleum products.

“The retail petroleum sector is an indispensible part of the downstream value chain and is an extension of the refining industry,” says organiser Mark Burridge of Fair Consultants SA. “Having both sectors represented at one event brings diverse industry players together, uniting producers, wholesalers and retailers. By bridging the gaps we hope to do our part towards the positive transformation of this ever-changing industry.”


Retail petroleum show to highlight industry transformation

The retail petroleum sector faces unique challenges that would benefit from discussion in a public forum. These challenges are the drivers for the introduction of the smaller exhibition which will come under the spotlight at Forecourt Africa 2011.

“There is one word that comes to mind when looking at the current state of the retail petroleum sector and that is ‘change’,” says Burridge. “We have seen transformation in ownership in line with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) requirements and will no doubt see more change as opportunities are developed.”

According to Zingisa Mavuso, chief director in charge of petroleum matters at the Department of Minerals and Energy, black ownership (a key pillar of the liquid fuels charter which governs the industry) has risen from 5.8 per cent in 2000 to 26 per cent in 2010. However, there are no women chief executives or female managing directors.

“The industry needs to align with the B-BBEE codes of good practice with clear definitions and a commonly accepted scorecard and verification carried out by accredited agencies,” says Avhapfani Tshifularo, executive director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA), who are endorsing the Petro.T.ex Africa expo.

The retail petroleum sector has fared slightly better than the refining sector, with 37 per cent of the 6000 retailers nationwide being previously disadvantaged.

Another factor that will play an important role in the sector will be the upcoming implementation of the Regulatory Accounting System for the petroleum sector, which will be used to determine appropriate margins for wholesale, coastal storage, handling, secondary storage, distribution and return on assets for the benchmark service station. This will have an impact on income streams, ownership and much more. The Forecourt Africa conference will explore these issues and Burridge is confident there will be some lively debate amongst the delegates.

“Some of the major role players are changing tactics, while others are selling off their African assets. New majors are looking for a foothold in Africa and snapping up these assets,” he adds. “There are also exciting projects and possible joint ventures on the cards for our refiners, and these will all be explored at the conference.”

There are approximately 4600 service stations (forecourts, company-owned and dealer-owned) in South Africa, which distribute 95 per cent of the petrol consumed in the country.


Industry ripe for investment

In 2009, South Africa consumed 11.3 bn litres of petrol and 9.1 bn litres of diesel, a 2.2 per cent increase in consumption over the previous year. With a growing demand for petroleum sites, the retail industry shows great potential for growth.

The sector also faces several challenges stemming from the global move towards cleaner fuels. While addressing environmental concerns, this will require up to R40-bn in infrastructure investment by oil companies.

Petro.T.ex Africa 2011 and Forecourt Africa 2011 will showcase major new projects and developments, and provide a platform to display the latest industry innovations and technical advancements. It will cover a wide range of products and services ranging from the latest refining technology, storage, distribution and supply to forecourts locally and cross border.

The exhibition puts industry producers and users, buyers and sellers together in a comfortable environment that is trade-focused and conducive to business. With ample space to display and walk, areas to relax and network, the expo follows a proven recipe for success and ensures good interaction between conference delegates, visitors and exhibitors alike.

Petro.T.ex Africa 2011 is co-located with the seventh international Pumps Valves and Pipes Africa (PVPA) and WaterTec Africa exhibitions.