TOTAL service stations are more than oil providers. They're also about solar energy and biomass. Speaking at the launch of the Total Fiji Flagstaff service station in Suva last week, Minister for Transport and Public Utilities Colonel Timoci Natuva said Total was renowned for producing some of the best quality lubricants in the market today.
"Fiji is proud to be associated with Total's product especially the latest Total Excellium which is currently taking the local market by storm," he said.
Col Natuva said the Excellium product range reduced carbon dioxide emission by five per cent while carbon monoxide was down by 25 per cent.
"Your consistent collaboration with major engine manufacturers in Europe, Japan and America coupled with research and development at its pinnacle has helped put your products in a pre-eminent position in the market," he said. Total Excellium products have been on the international market since 2005. Total, a major oil and gas company is established in more than 130 countries with an international payroll of 92,000 employees putting their expertise in every part of the industry.
Since Shell Fiji Limited announced its exit from the Fiji market in 2006, there was much scepticism about the viability of the economy, Col Natuva said.
"The negativity was short lived when a new player in the market and a world leading oil producer - France based company TOTAL announced that it had acquired full ownership of Shell Fiji and all its Pacific operations," he said.
When Total took over from Shell, there were 20 established service stations from the acquisition. Today, Total has 24 services stations in Fiji, Col Natuva pointed out.
"I'm adamant this number will continue to grow. "This is a symbol of your strong investor confidence in our small, vibrant and thriving economy, strong customer focused and a strong customer oriented entity not only in Fiji but also in the region," he said.
Total Flagstaff branch is the latest and newest petroleum service centre in the country. Total has six lubricant terminals in the region—Suva, Vuda, Labasa, Levuka, Taveuni and Tonga—which allows the company to manage a highly flexible level of stock and stock up storage lubricants capacity that can cater for three months of supply to any major packing list.
"In a market where established multinational oil companies are leaving, Total is expanding its operation," Col Natuva said.
Total operates in 10 Pacific island countries namely, Tonga, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu, Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Western and American Samoa.
"Your vision to be located here in Fiji as the main business centre for the South West Pacific not only facilitates easier logistics for the company, but provides genuine employment opportunities to some ordinary Fijians.
"Your location here is paramount for the supply of products to Tonga and Western Samoa—two major markets that were once serviced by Shell in 2006 and also accommodating both markets following the withdrawal of another oil company BP in 2009," Col Natuva said.
"Your vision to operate from Fiji and to service fuel suppliers in Tonga, Nauru and Wallis and Futuna through Total's Local Coastal Tanker, and send fuel drums to Tuvalu, lubricants to Western Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati has expanded and widened your sales and marketing network.
"And it's a big boost to the economy in terms of revenue and foreign exchange," Col Natuva said. Total controls 40 per cent of the Fiji market share—a daunting task for a new player given the need to supply quota from top buyers like the Fiji Electricity, he said.
"With a market share of 40 per cent, I have no doubt that you have kept your end of the deal.
"Remember, our biggest stakeholders are not those business partners or the vehicles on the roads but the people or customers and service to them is paramount," Col Natuva said.