French oil major Total is expanding its fuel distribution and sales network in Mozambique with the goal of controlling a 30 per cent share of the market by the end of 2017 through the investment of 50 million US dollars.

On Thursday, Total opened its 43rd service station in the country in the neighbourhood of Magoanine in Maputo city. Under its expansion programme, Total aims to have 60 service stations in Mozambique by the end of next year.

The managing director of Total Mozambique, Joseph Kouame, told journalists at the opening ceremony that the company’s expansion plans were ambitious. He added that the construction and management of the petrol stations will bring employment to Mozambicans.

Questioned about the effect of the country’s current economic crisis on his business, he said: “There will always be crises. What happens is that at some times sales are low whilst at other times they rise. We are in a dip but things will improve.”

Commenting on rumours that the country is about to run out of fuel, he stressed that the sole body authorised to import liquid fuels, Imopetro, had dismissed them as unfounded.

Maputo City’s director of industry and trade, Porfirio Reis, confirmed that there was no rupture in the fuel supply, nor was there even any forecast of such a shortage.

Reis stated that he is continuing to monitor the sale of fuel and gas. Hoverer, he added that he has received no major complaints due to the fact that the companies are using instruments certified by the National Institute for Standards and Quality (INNOQ).

Total has operated in Mozambique since 1991. In addition to its fuel stations, the company is exploring for oil and gas in the Rovuma Basin in the north of the country.