Troubled state-owned entity PetroSA let a profitable gasoline supply offer slip through its hands despite the potential of making hundreds of millions of rand from it.
The offer to supply diesel and fuel for one year to PetroSA was made by Trescorp Alliance, a company nominated by the ministry of oil and gas of the Sultanate of Oman following a cooperation agreement with then minister of energy Jeff Radebe in June 2018.
The proposed deal would have seen the Singapore-based company nominated by Dr. Mahammed Bin Hamad AL Rumhy, deliver petrol and diesel to SA at a cost of R5 per liter before cost duties. The deal was seen to have the potential to generate profits for the ailing state gas company which has been beset by mismanagement claims.
The company has instead entered into a deal worth R1.7bn with two multinational companies to source petrol and diesel in the next three months.
PetroSA spokesperson Kgomotso Mokori said the Trescorp memorandum of understanding (MOU) and its offer weren’t the only agreements the entity has entered into.
“PetroSA has a number of MOUs and all these are evaluated within the approved business processes,” Mokori said.
When asked how other fuel supply deals which PetroSA entered into recently compare to the Trescorp offer which was not pursued, Mokori said: “This question compares the 2019 non-binding offer (MOU) with 2021 and since then, the market has changed.”
He added: “PetroSA continues to engage the market and select the most commercial deal meeting all prescribed requirements.”
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said it would be raising questions about this deal during the ongoing consultations in the retrenchment process.
Radebe had in a letter dated June 12 2018, addressed to Dr. Mahommed Bin Hamad AL Rumhy, indicated that the SA government was “keen to explore possibilities for cooperation in the fields of oil and gas and the sourcing of fuels for our nation’s future needs with the Sultanate of Oman”.
“It is our opinion that some of our state-owned enterprises such as PetroSA would benefit from a working relationship with your ministry, as it is our intention to facilitate a larger role in the fuel supply chain for PetroSA within our country and indeed within our region,” Radebe said.
Radebe did not respond to calls and text messages requesting his comment at the time of going to print.
PetroSA is set to retrench 500 workers as it is experiencing a financial crisis.
Yesterday, PetroSA met its unions in a consultative meeting facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in an ongoing section 189 retrenchment process.
Solidarity Union’s chemical sector coordinator Gerhard Cloete said if the Trescorp deal is viable to help stop job losses they want it to be pursued and considered urgently.
“We are open and open-minded to viable alternatives to jobs losses and information about this deal is important to workers,” Cloete said.
Numsa secretary Irvin Jim said they will now be asking questions about the Trescorp deal as it may have saved PetroSA.
“Now PetroSA is busy retrenching workers while it has dropped other deals that could have strengthened its balance sheet and saved jobs, we have no choice but to demand answers,” Jim said.