Puma Energy opens US$3m aviation fuel storage facility at RGM Airport

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Itai Ndongwe 

HARARE – Puma Energy Zimbabwe has opened a US$3 million new fuel storage facility at Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport, demonstrating its commitment to infrastructure and aviation supply security projects.

This operation began in 2015 with seven staff and a storage capacity of 232m3. The first operation was to refuel the national airline, Air Zimbabwe, and its early clients were the HAC, Air Force of Zimbabwe, Comair, and British Airways.

In 2016, the company expanded its aviation operations and welcomed Kenya Airways, Air Namibia, and SA Express as clients. In 2017, Puma added another client when it boarded Ethiopian Airways, Air Malawi, and Air Botswana. Due to increasing demand, the company expanded its capacity to 490m3 in 2019. In 2022, following the COVID-19 epidemic that halted air travel, and sure that it would resume, it extended the storage facility once more.

As of now, the storage capacity is 1,490m3, achieved at a cost of US$2.2 million, and the company has also acquired a third refueller valued at US$800,000.00, bringing the total investment to US$3 million, demonstrating its commitment to investing in Zimbabwe and effectively bolstering fuel security for Zimbabwe’s aviation industry.

Speaking at the launch, Donatien Kodog, General Manager of Puma Energy Zimbabwe, “We are excited to unveil the expansion of our aviation fuel storage facility, marking a significant milestone in our journey to provide reliable and efficient solutions for our clients.

“This strategic investment underscores our steadfast commitment to supporting the growth and sustainability of the aviation industry while reinforcing our position as a trusted partner to the government in meeting its tourism and industrialisation ambitions. We believe this will significantly increase the country’s aviation fuel storage capacity, ensuring a reliable supply to meet the growing demands of the aviation industry.”This investment demonstrates our dedication to supporting Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development.”

Puma Energy Zimbabwe’s investment in expanding the capacity of its storage facility is part of its pledge to put USD $30 million into the Zimbabwean market over the next three years, with a focus on expanding its retail fuel network and storage facilities.

Additional funding will be allocated to the development of renewable energy solutions, as well as investments in local talent and communities.Edgar Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development, emphasised the importance of a reliable in-country energy supply for Zimbabwe’s economic stability and growth, and thanked Puma Energy Zimbabwe for supporting the Ministry’s vision of ensuring a safe, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy supply. This recognition comes amid the country’s increased tourist and industrialization endeavours.

“This infrastructure development not only signifies a strategic move towards bolstering the nation;s aviation sector, it also serves as a pivotal step in supporting our rapidly developing tourism industry and the country’s industrialization ambitions,” Moyo said.

Puma Energy Zimbabwe’s new facility is well-equipped to fulfil the immediate and anticipated needs of the expanding number of aircraft running international, regional, and local routes. The station, which is open 24 hours a day, provides commercial clients with constant access to jet A-1 fuel that fulfils high international aviation standards. International and regional carriers include Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir, Air Malawi, Air Botswana, and FastJet.

According to research, hydrocarbon fuel demand in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase by 56% by 2040, with Jet A1 up by 67%. However, current infrastructure is struggling to satisfy current demand, and Fadi Mitri, Head of Africa at Puma Energy, adds that there is a substantial gap in petroleum infrastructure in Africa, including storage, ports, and transportation along critical Eastern and Southern African routes.

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