Abu Dhabi: Sharjah-based Gulf Petrochem will invest about $80 million (Dh290.4 million) in the next one year as part of its expansion plans in Fujairah and East Africa, a top company executive told Gulf News.
“We are planning to spend about $25 to 30 million in acquiring new terminals in East Africa and about $50 million in adding new tankage in Fujairah,” said Thangapandian Srinivasalu, Executive Director of Gulf Petrochem.
The construction work in Fujairah will start next year and the project is expected to be completed by March 2017.
“We are going to add around 260,000 cubes in Fujairah. These tanks will not only cater to trading activity but will also support the refining activity which we are planning. “
On expansion plans in Africa, he said the firm is looking at acquiring terminals in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and in Mombasa in Kenya.
“The next decade belongs to Africa and there are tremendous business opportunities in East Africa, which is politically stable and secure. There is steady growth of 5 to 7 per cent in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.”
Started in 1998 with the commissioning of a refinery in Sharjah’s Hamriya Free Zone, Gulf Petrochem is a conglomerate worth $2.5 billion with business operations in oil trading and bunkering, refining, storage terminals, bitumen manufacturing, lubricants, shipping and logistics.
“We have been growing at a decent pace. Our plans and expectations are to keep up with this pace. In the last one year we have gone full length [in terms of] barrel trading. We have expanded our operations in coal and pet coke.”
According to him, their focus of growth will be the UAE, India and East Africa.
“Today majority of our revenues are coming from this geography and our investments are more here. We are planning to acquire lubricant companies and bitumen plants in India as we seek to expand in the Indian market.”
The company is in the process of commissioning Hamriya terminal in Sharjah.
It is a state of the art modern terminal which can handle full range of products, both classified and non classified, Thangapandian said.
On falling oil prices and how it is impacting their business, he said it has been good for the company.
“Except E&P companies everyone will be happy with low crude oil prices including consumers, marketers and traders. Thanks to the surplus of product and contango in the market, the storage tanks are full.”
Speaking about the trade relations between India and the UAE following the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said they had been positive.
“[The] UAE wanted a signal from the Indian government that you are more than welcome and we are going to give you the full support. That signal has been given.”
He said the UAE is looking for places where there is safety and an opportunity to grow.
“Today there are very few economies in the world where you can put the money, expect it to be safe and keep growing. India is a positive market and close to the UAE geographically.”
Gulf Petrochem is investing in India as part of its expansion plans. It recently acquired Sah Petroleum Limited, a listed lubricant company and commissioned Pipavav storage terminal in Gujarat. It is planning to acquire lubricant companies and bitumen plants in future.