BP sells southern Africa forecourts for £184.2m

OIL giant BP is offloading its southern African forecourt network to international commodities trader Trafigura for $296m (£184.2m), continuing a trend of big oil companies quitting the fuel retail market.

BP hopes to sell interests in forecourts and supply businesses in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi to Puma Energy, part of Netherlands-based Trafigura, by next year.

The disposal is thought to be part of efforts by BP to raise $25bn to $30bn by the end of 2011 to help pay for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Puma plans to use the assets mainly to supply regional markets but also possibly to support Trafigura’s international oil product flows.

Puma chairman Pierre Eladari said it will seek more similar growth in Africa as major oil firms divest.

“We provide to Trafigura access to a market that is not easy to target for a trading company,” Eladari said.