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F+L Webcast - Engen Petroleum focuses on customer pain points and localisation to drive growth in South Africa

Episode 39: Engen Petroleum focuses on customer pain points and localisation to drive growth in South Africa

In an exclusive interview with F+L Webcast, Adnaan Emeran, marketing and business development manager for Commercial Fuels and Lubricants at Engen Petroleum, shared insights into the company’s strategy to strengthen its brand positioning in South Africa. Engen Petroleum is a major South African oil company that focuses on the downstream refined petroleum products market and related businesses.

Emeran, who has over three decades of experience in the industry, highlighted the importance of understanding the unique pain points faced by key customers in sectors such as mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. “By conducting research into the challenges our customers face, we are better equipped to tailor our offerings and improve our brand positioning,” he explained.

One of the significant challenges discussed was the requirement for local partnerships in various sectors due to South African legislation. While these sectors share common pain points, Emeran noted that each industry also faces unique obstacles. For example, in mining, incorporating local communities into the supply chain is a significant hurdle, while in agriculture, unpredictable weather patterns and inadequate transportation infrastructure pose significant challenges.

Emeran, who holds a background in chemistry, emphasised his role in marketing and business development, ensuring that products reach their destinations safely and efficiently. He also highlighted the need for accessible and secure facilities for truck drivers, a crucial aspect of the company’s operations.

Engen Petroleum, a subsidiary of PETRONAS, has a strong presence in the South African retail market, with a market share of around 27%. The company aims to enable sectors like transport and agriculture to overcome common pain points and keep businesses moving. Its new B2B tagline is ‘Always Moving’.

Engen Petroleum has six affiliates across Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, and Swaziland, and exports lubricants to various markets, working with distributors to reach a wider audience.

Engen is currently majority owned by Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company PETRONAS (74%), with the remaining equity held by the Phembani Group (20%) and a Phembani-led consortium (6%). On April 25, 2024, South Africa’s Competition Tribunal gave the greenlight for Vitol to acquire PETRONAS’ stake. The deal was originally announced in February 2023. The acquisition will result in a change of control from PETRONAS to Vivo Energy, a joint venture between Vitol, Helios Investment Partners, and Shell, created in 2011.

As Engen Petroleum continues to navigate the evolving fuel and lubricants industry in South Africa, its focus on understanding customer pain points, localising partnerships, and leveraging its strong brand positioning will be crucial in driving growth and maintaining its position as a leading player in the market.