Across the world demand for fuel is at a premium. The challenge of supply is particularly heightened in developing countries, where the combination of population increase and significant infrastructure development, have led to a huge growth in demand.
That is very much the scenario that has unfolded in Qatar where improved infrastructure and economic development has led to an influx of aircraft, vehicles and boats, all requiring fuel.
The solution was the creation of a new company, Qatar Fuel (WOQOD), a downstream oil storage, distribution and marketing company, formed in 2002 as a joint stock company listed on the Qatar Exchange.
The company was formed from the fuel storage and distribution assets owned at that time by Qatar Petroleum under the name of NODCO (National Oil Distribution Company). NODCO-owned Qatar’s fuel distribution depot located in Abu Hamour supplies diesel, gasoline and aviation fuels to the entire State of Qatar.
With socio-economic development very much the focus in Qatar at present, there is an ever-greater reliance on logistics which in turn depends upon a reliable fuel supply. The company website explains the important role that Qatar Fuel plays in that supply chain:
“Qatar Fuel (WOQOD) is exclusively responsible for the distribution of fuel needs within Qatar. This includes diesel and gasoline for vehicles, boats and industry and aviation fuel for Doha International Airport; all to be served through a fleet of more than 350 road-tankers. The company also trades in bunker fuels, ship-to- ship bunkering within Qatari waters, bitumen importation and distribution, for building new roads, LPG for cooking, and own-branded-lubricants. In addition, it builds modern branded service stations across Qatar.
“WOQOD’s strategy is to be the best downstream energy company in the region as measured in terms of customer and employee satisfaction and shareholder earnings.”
The company owns a number of subsidiaries: Qatar Jet Fuel Company (Q-JET), WOQOD Vehicle Inspection (FAHES), WOQOD Marine Services and WOQOD International for Foreign Investment.
Additionally the business operates a network of WOQOD Service Stations which operate with modern forecourts, high speed dedicated diesel lanes, large convenience stores, manual and automatic car washes, quick lube, tyre shops and vehicle workshops. Most also have a mosque and customer facilities including in-store coffee shops and internet cafes.
The WOQOD brand also extends to WOQOD Lubricants, a business that supplies a complete range of automotive and industrial lubricants developed to suit all types of vehicles and industrial requirements. WOQOD Lubricants are designed to deliver superior performance and protection for extended periods of time and are currently distributed in Qatar, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman and are set to extend across the remaining GCC and Levant areas and the African markets.
The business has however also branched out into other areas and in 2009 WOQOD commissioned a new LPG bottling and distribution plant located in the industrial Area of Doha. At the same time lightweight composite 12 kg and 6 kg LPG cylinders were launched and all regulators upgraded. WOQOD will soon supply natural gas by pipeline to the New Industrial Area of Doha.
The company also operates a bitumen business, running a modern storage and blending facility which supplies local road contractors with bitumen, tack coats and emulsions.
Diversity has undoubtedly played an important part in WOQOD’s continued success, which was highlighted back in February when the Board announced its financial results for the period ended 31st December 2013:
“Net profit (after excluding minority interest) exceeded QR1.216 million for the year 2013, increased by 5.75 per cent as compared to last year.
“While total assets reached QR9.7 billion up by 20.45 per cent from last year figures, total equity recorded a growth rate of 15.47 per cent to reach QR 6.3 billion for the same period.”
The company’s Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Mohamed Turki Al-Sobai added that WOQOD is currently involved in implementation of 17 new projects, including:
The commissioning of 5 petrol stations: Rawda Al Hamam, The Pearl, Mesaieed West, Bou Samra and Mesaieed North, while another 4 petrol stations: Al Jumailia, Lusail, Al Thakeera, and Al Wajba were either under construction or in tendering stages and expected to be opened during the second half of 2014.
A further 5 projects were in the design stage and were expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Furthermore, the company was working on the tendering stage of a project in Saudi Arabia and had managed to obtain all the approvals and official documents from the Saudi authorities. A Saudi consulting firm has been appointed.
“Fahes technical inspection centre located at Al Mamoura is totally completed and tested. The official commissioning will take place once the IT and other technical issues with the Traffic Department are finalised. The Wadi Al Banat Centre is near completion and expected to open in the first half of 2014,” added the company news release.
“The total sales of retail services recorded a growth record of 30 per cent during the 2013 year as compared to previous year. These services include Sidra Convenience Store, car wash automatic and manual and workshops of tires and repairs. LPG sales also grew by 15 per cent during the period.
“Total sales of petroleum products (Gasoline, Diesel and Jet A1) increased by 12.3 per cent to reach about 6,452 million litres for the year 2013. Volume of sales is expected to grow dramatically once Hamad New Airport is operating. Q-Jet has completed all arrangement for the commissioning of the New Airport.
“Sales of Bitumen also increased by 52 per cent during 2013 and expected to record a high growth rate in coming months due to the new commitment of Ashghal and the new technical cooperation which is currently underway between WOQOD and Texas A&M University in the field of Modified Bitumen research.”
This upbeat financial report was followed by more positive news in June that Qatar hoped to have 150 WOQOD gas stations in operation by 2022.
Chief Executive Ibrahim Jaham al-Kuwari said that the decision to expand is part of Woqod’s new 5-year plan, which runs from 2014-2018.
With an existing shortage of fuel stations common place in Qatar and the problem likely to be exacerbated by the Qatar World Cup preparations, the announcement was timely.
Qatar Fuel (WOQOD) has quickly made a successful name for itself and its reputation is set to grow significantly more over the coming years.