A TotalEnergies partly-owned service station, which has been out of business for nearly eight years, has raised eyebrows as refurbishments have started to get it up and running despite there not being an operating license, sources close to the matter have said.
Several players have now brought the matter to the attention of the mines, energy ministry, and TotalEnegies.
These include the retail operator, Michael Ludeke, who runs Total Henties Bay Fuel Centre CC, Stuart Salt, who represents the latter, and Jacqueline Scholz, a consultant acting on behalf of Millennium Consolidated Consultancy Services.
In a letter to the minister, Scholz claims that Glober Motors’ retail outlet was abandoned after a new Total site opened across the road.
She told the ministry that no fuel has been dispensed from the Glober Motors retail outlet since it was abandoned and that the premises were subsequently leased to Potties Repairs, who operated a mechanical workshop from the premises.
“As the Honourable minister is aware, the purpose of Regulation 9(3) of the Petroleum Products Regulations, 2000, is to prevent abandoned/dormant retail sites from monopolizing potential for other sites to open and so as not to distort the fuel supply and demand in an area. We herewith kindly request the Honourable Minister, in terms of regulations 9(3) and 31 of the Petroleum Products Regulations, to cancel this license,” she said.
In the meantime, the retail marketing manager for TotalEnergies Marketing Namibia (Pty) Ltd, Josef Aipanda, confirmed that they used to supply petroleum products to Grobler Service Station situated along erf 173 in Henties bay.
“However, TotalEnergies Marketing Namibia (Pty) Ltd stopped supplying petroleum products to the site about seven years ago as the owner ceased ordering and selling. We, therefore, confirm that the site has not been operating and never sold petroleum products for more than seven years,” said Aipanda.
However, he said TotalEnergies (Pty) Ltd owns the storage tanks, underground pipes and pumps at the site as they were the ones who did the installations.
For his part, the mines ministry’s executive director, Simeon Negumbo, directed that Regulation 31 (6) of the Petroleum Products Regulations, 200, places an obligation on the license holder to surrender the license to the minister within 14 days from the date on which the license ceased to have effect.
“In line with the above provision, your client is required to surrender the said license to the minister within 14 days from the date of receipt of this notice,” said Negumbo.
This is after Salt, representing Henties Bay Fuel Centre CC, requested the ministry whether a new license had been issued to Grobler.
He also wanted to determine if the ministry had received an application before a moratorium issued on 15 August 2022.
The license issue comes hot on the heels of the mines ministry having lately cracked the whip against unlicensed operators via a letter written to the president of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN), Katrina Shimbulu.
In the said letter, minister Alweendo informs that his ministry had observed that there had been a mushrooming of retail outlets operating without valid licenses.
“This practice is resulting in the mushrooming of retail fuel outlets of fuel service stations that ultimately lead to no proper assessments being conducted to determine the economic viability of such fuel outlets before they are constructed.”
“There is a need for the ministry to conduct economic viability assessments for new fuel service stations. This is necessary to prevent the high saturation of the market that will result in businesses not being profitable,” he said.
In the meantime, Ludeke told this publication that the matter concerning Glober Motors retail outlet was yet to be resolved by the ministry.