By Tabora Bojang
Castle Gambia is constructing a new fuel storage facility at the coastal village of Mandinary to be the first private fuel storage depot in the country.
The construction of the new tank was unveiled during a site visit to the facility by members of the Malian energy regulatory ONAP, who are on a visit to the country as part of plans to bilaterally enhance export of petroleum products between Mali and The Gambia.
Government owned Gam petroleum which has a storage capacity of 51, 000 metric tons of heavy and light fuel is the sole supplier of fuel in the county since its inception under the former regime.
But following the liberalisation of the sector in 2017, the government approved a permit for Castle Gambia which mainly sells auto fuels from its retail stations, to construct an additional new depot to boost fuel supply in the Gambia and the sub-region.
Castle managing director Hassib Massry said the site will consist of 8 loading bays for tankers, and a storage capacity of 38,000 metric tons of heavy fuel and light fuel and gas.
“We want to bring stability to the trade of petroleum in The Gambia. And ensure petroleum [products] are consistently available to the local population and other regional markets.”
According to Mr. Massry, Castle has been operating in the country for over 25 years, adding that the liberalization of the sector could not come at a better time than now, when the sector is creating huge opportunities for investment.
“We are not in competition with Gam petroleum or anyone in this market, we want to bring stability in this market and ensure prices are reasonable and everybody has access to petroleum products,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has disclosed it has issued over 15 petroleum re-export licences to Gambian and international oil dealers since taking over the regulation of downstream petroleum in 2017.
“The Authority saw a significant growth within this segment of the value chain with more than 15 re-export licences issued. The main country of destination has been Mali with the considerable volumes enhancing trade between the two countries,” Pura Acting managing director Solo Sima said at an inception meeting with the visiting Malian delegation.
The companies licensed are; International commodity Assurance, Gai oil Gas and logistics, Salam Company Ltd, Silco petroleum, GNPC, Baniko Banta Enterprise, Maadikon Trading Enterprise, Carnot Gambia limited, Sissokho’s oil Enterprise, Solo Dabo Company Ltd, Star Oil Gambia, Pet Gas, Dabanani Electrical, Ultimate Oil and Gas and Rottenbi Energia SA.