JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg on Tuesday described his company’s investment in Astron Energy oil refinery and fuel distribution station business in South Africa as “a nice short to have for the trading business”.
The Chevron oil refinery in Cape Town and the Caltex brand now fall under Astron Energy, a Glencore Group company.
In response to Mining Weekly during a post-results media briefing, Glasenberg noted that Glencore’s oil division saw a benefit on the trading side of having outlets in various countries. Currently these include South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.
“We bought Astron about a year ago. It’s got the refinery in Cape Town and it’s got all these distribution outlets. It’s something we like in the oil trading division. We can supply crude into the refinery and then distribute from there. So, it’s a nice short to have for the trading business and it fits our portfolio.
“We’ve also got a large amount of distribution stations in Brazil. That’s a business that our oil department has developed slowly and we’ll see how it goes and that’s how it operates in South Africa,” Glasenberg said.
In a deal valued at $1-billion, Glencore partnered black economic empowerment consortium Off The Shelf Investments in the acquisition of Chevron South Africa. Astron Energy now has a number of years to transition away from the Caltex retail branding. The acquirer must also invest some R6-billion into the Cape Town refinery, which has a crude oil input capacity of 110 000 bbl/day.
In Brazil, Glencore Energy in 2018 signed an agreement to acquire 78% of Ale Combustíveis, Brazil’s fourth-largest fuel distributor, which has a network of 1 500 stations in 22 states and about 260 convenience stores. This followed investment in the Mexican downstream sector through G500.
On the impact of Eskom load-shedding on its ferrometals plants and coal mines in South Africa and the prospect of Glencore generating renewable solar energy for its own use here, Glasenberg said the Glencore team in South Africa was looking into various forms of renewable energy generation at the existing operations. Glencore already produces its own wind energy at its Raglan nickel mine in Canada.