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Ethiopia welcomes three new players in the oil industry

Ethiopia’s oil retail market is about to welcome three new local players. These are Marathon Petroleum, Tebarek Petroleum and Allway Petroleum.

The three new companies are currently completing formalities to become eligible. They must construct a 500,000-litre oil depot and have a minimum of six filling stations in order to obtain a retailing license.

“We have finalized everything and we are waiting for some of our machines to be installed,” said Sisay Woldeyes, owner of Allway Petroleum. It was established with an initial paid-up capital of ETB50 million  (USD2.4 million).

With these three new entrants, the number of oil retailers in Ethiopia now total 12, of which seven are local companies. Even though local retailers are gaining more prominence, foreign oil retailers still claim about 60% of the market. Until 2004, when the country’s oil market was opened up to local players, the market was completely dominated by foreign companies.

With about 87.9 million people, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populated nation on the African continent. Ethiopia was one of the fastest growing economies in the world from 2004 through 2009, with an annual growth rate in excess of 10%. Growth has decelerated moderately in 2012 to 7% and is projected to be 6.5% in the future – reflecting weaker external demand and an increasingly constrained environment for private sector activity.