BP Namibia has been a leader in the industry since it started operating here in 1975 and has performed the role of Company Secretary to the Oil industry since then
With a market share of just under 22%, BP competes with Shell, Engen, Caltex, Total and Mobil for business. Namibia has approximately 222 service stations of which BP has 50, mostly concentrated in Windhoek (where BP has 11) and the rest covering the main entry and exit points of the country. One new BP service station was built in Windhoek in 1996 and another top-of-the-range site was built in 1997, but generally there are many towns in Namibia where the number of service stations is already too high. Nevertheless, BP’s retail strategy in Namibia is to build one new site every year.
Sixty percent of the Namibian population lives in the north and as peace returns to Angola, opportunities are opening up in southern Angola. With the increase in development, the retail team has expanded its network here. Cross-border co-operation with associate countries is good and recently BP Namibia and BP Botswana worked closely together to place service stations at the best strategic locations along the new Trans-Kalahari toll road, linking Botswana with Namibia.
Commercial customers range from farming, marine and the breweries, to dairies. On the West Coast in Walvis Bay, where BP has an installation, the main customer is the fishing industry. Air BP operates jointly with Shell and Engen at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako airport, and individually at Eros airport, just outside Windhoek. Other depots include Etosha, Ondangwa and the Caprivi Strip.
Most imports, both fuels and lubricants, come through Walvis Bay while liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and white spirits are railed from Durban and Cape Town. Close proximity to Botswana makes exports from Buitebos Depot or Gobabis viable as it cuts out the long distribution line from the Witwatersrand. There are four BP-operated depots in Namibia, including the Walvis Bay installation, one in the north at Otjiwarongo, one in the east at Gobabis and one in the south at Keetmanshoop. There are also four agency-operated depots, including two LPG filling depots, one in Okahandja and one in Keetmanshoop. The other two agency depots are situated in Buitepos and Mariental.
Movement towards deregulating the Namibian petroleum industry has taken place with agreement being reached to adopt the South African 80/20 spot/in-bound landed cost weighted pricing formula. Although Government and trade unions still appear concerned about the effect of a free market system on unemployment, a new Petroleum Product Regulation controls petroleum products as well as the wholesalers and re-sellers of these products. The new act replaces, among others, the service Station Rationalisation Plan which has been seen as unconstitutional. Deregulation, as far as the oil industry is concerned, is inevitable. One immediate benefit of the recent change is that fuel price changes, which used to be influenced by political considerations, will now be adjusted quarterly.