Govt set to conclude 100% Beira-Feruka fuel pipeline take-over

Government is on the verge of concluding the deal that grants it 100% takeover and control of the Beira- Feruka pipeline, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

This publication understands the final payment of the 100% take over is due this week and a team has been dispatched to South Africa to complete outstanding deliberations and payments.

Upon full payment, government through the  National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC)  will assume full ownership of the Feruka-Harare fuel pipeline after snapping up Lonmin’s 50% shareholding in Petrozim Line (Private) Limited (Petrozim/PZL).

This transaction simply translate that NOIC will have 100% ownership of PZL, and thereby having sole control of the pipeline and storage facilities.

When NOIC entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement with Lomnin in 1988, it had the option to purchase all shares in Petrozim Line owned by Lonmin.

Sometime last year, the fuel distributor decided to make the purchase but were yet to finalise payments and other sticking issues.

“NOIC started the process of getting full control of the pipeline last year after government realised that the pipeline is a strategic asset of national security concern.

“If private players are left in control of the oil sector it remains dangerous especially on the security of the state.”

“As we speak now a team left the country to conclude talks on payments and other nitty gritties pending finalisation of the deal and it is expected to be complete late this week,” revealed our source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The pipeline was built in 1966 and has a carrying capacity of 6,5 million litres per day and currently accounts for more than 90% of the fuel that comes into country.

The pipeline has been subject to controversy following an outcry by industry players that Sakunda Holdings, which is owned by businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei, enjoys a monopoly over the use of the pipeline after it entered into a deal with government to finance the refurbishment of the facility.

This has however been clarified by outgoing Energy minister Joram Gumbo who said Sakunda merely have shares in a partnership between government and a Mozambican company Companhia Do Pipeline Mozambique-Zimbabwe (CMMZ).

 “The pipeline from Beira to Feruka is a pipeline that is owned by the Zimbabwe government and Mozambique through a company they have formed. It so happens that Sakunda and Puma have shares in that company, National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Noic), and those allegations are not true because it is a business enterprise with Companhia Do Pipeline Mozambique-Zimbabwe (CMMZ), a Mozambican company.

“Sakunda and Puma — because of their joint operations — have shares and it is not that they have advantages when oil comes into the country,” Gumbo was quoted as saying.

Recently, government  is alleged to have blocked a proposal by former advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa  Chris Mutsvangwa to engage a South African-owned mining, oil and gas services company to construct another 550km fuel pipeline from Beira to Harare.

NOIC chief executive Wilfred Matukeni could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone did not go through on Tuesday.

Lonzim  is a company focused on developing and acquiring business opportunities primarily in Zimbabwe and the region of Mozambique known as the Beira Corridor, which links Zimbabwe to the coast.

The company was listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange on 11th December 2007 after raising £29.16 million.

Its patriarch is the late businessman Tiny Rowland who is believed to have had close ties with Telecel founder James Makamba.