BP, Shell sign R600M deal with black SA firm

Durban | Thursday

PETROLEUM giants BP and Shell on Wednesday signed a R600-million (60-million euros, $53-million) shipping deal with a black South African empowerment company.

The deal will see Southern Tankers transport about a million tons of oil along the African coast.

Southern Tankers chairman Sithembiso Mthethwa announced the deal, saying it signalled the dawn of a new era in the maritime industry.

The contract is the largest single oil industry procurement deal with a South African empowerment company. Over five years, the combined value of the contract amounts to R600-million.

Maritime company, Dudula Shipping and the Grinrod Group, through its subsidiary Unicorn Shipping, jointly own Southern Tankers.

Dudula has been associated with BP and Shell since 1997 when the company was appointed to transport crude oil.

Mthethwa said at the time the deal might have been a “small step” for BP and Shell, but to Dududla it made all the difference.

“BP and Shell took a leap of faith to ensure that Dudula becomes a player in the maritime industry,” he said.

He said the deal, which was about three to four years in the making, was finalised in the past six months.

It involves the transportation of petroleum products from the Sapref refinery in Durban, which is jointly operated by BP and Shell, to various destinations along the African coast.

Dudula was the first black-owned maritime company in the country and among its contracts was the importation of two million barrels of crude oil from the Gulf. - Sapa