Botswana Oil expands storage capacity for fuel security.

Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) is undertaking three key storage facilities projects that will see the country growing its storage capacity and increasing security of supply for the country significantly to over three months’ cover when all completed by 2027, with the first among them due for completion in December 2024.


The Francistown Government Reserve Strategic Depot Expansion is an ongoing project to expand the bulk petroleum storage depot in Francistown by 60 million litres from the current 38 million litres. The Project entails construction of the tank farm, road loading & offloading gantry, and an office building. This is a P1.1bn project funded from fiscus and has been planned for completion in December 2024.


The Ghanzi Government Reserve Strategic Depot Project entails the construction of a 60-million-litre bulk petroleum storage depot near Turn 44 along the Mamuno road, during Phase 1. It also includes construction of offices, staff houses, road loading and offloading gantries, tank farm and other associated infrastructure developments. This is a Botswana Government funded project at over BWP 720 million. Phase 1 of this project is planned for completion in December 2024, after which plans to construct a further 30 million litres tank farm will commence.


Another project on a large scale with multifaceted elements is the Tshele Hills Oil Depot Storage. It entails the design, financing, construction, operation, maintenance, and transfer of a 187 million litres petroleum storage facility at Tshele Hills near Rasesa.  Once complete, it will comprise a tank farm and associated infrastructure. This is a BWP 3 billion project planned for completion in 2027. BOL will work with the requisite Government agencies to structure a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with a suitable private partner through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will provide the required funding to complete the works at Tshele Hills.

The scope is to Design, Finance and Build a Depot at Tshele Hills, including a tank farm, gantries, offices, services, and staff houses over a period of two years from inception; to further Operate and Maintain the Fuel Storage facility for the duration of the project period and transfer the facility to the MME at termination or expiration of PPP Agreement at the end of the planned 20–30 years operational period.


BOL has been aware of the concentration risk faced by Botswana because of heavily relying on the Republic of South Africa (RSA) for fuel imports and the risk’s impact on security of supply. This knowledge has informed current strategies that are in place and being implemented, as well as being built upon for future expansion.

“The company’s supplier base has been actively and intentionally diversified over the past years, with the number of suppliers outside RSA having grown significantly over the past year,” said Botswana Oil Limited General Manager—Supply, Onkutule Masima.

“BOL has not only diversified away from RSA as a country, but has at any given time had a minimum of three or more suppliers active in Namibia and a similar number in Mozambique. As a result, BOL has not only diversified its routes but has gone further to expand its supplier base in each of the routes to manage concentration risk and enhance security of supply for Botswana.”


BOL has been growing tremendously in terms of both human resources, the expertise and diversity of the skills they bring, and by extension its fitness for purpose as an organization. This has seen the company increase its volumes by over 65% during the last financial year and break ground for some of its key projects, notably in storage development.

Looking ahead, and 2024 in particular, BOL will commission the road loading and offloading gantry at the Francistown depot to enable smooth servicing of its clients before progressing later in that year to commission the additional 60 million litres storage currently under construction.

“Regarding project implementation, BOL is also on track to deliver the Ghanzi Depot, a green field development, after the Francistown depot expansion commissioning and by delivering these two projects the company would have more than doubled the country’s strategic days cover for fuel,” said Masima.  

“In terms of challenges, the reduced refining capacity around the world as well as regionally, on the backdrop of geopolitical conflicts, fears, and concerns by investors on carbon fuels, remain top of mind for us to navigate and build contingencies for business continuity.”

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