Portrait: Economic Success Story; Nile Petroleum in Ethiopia

Azhari (L) with the writer
Azhari (L) with the writer

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (SUDANOW) – Mohamed Azhari, 43, a name few Sudanese know back home. But in neighboring Ethiopia it is totally another story. The bony-faced engineer is making headlines and for a reason.  The company he leads, the Nile Petroleum, ranks number four among local and international companies providing oil services in Ethiopia.

“It wasn’t an out of the blue success” Azhari, the General Manager of the Nile petroleum company in Ethiopia, argued. Rather, he explained, this was a planned, industrious, deliberate and resilient effort in a country where law is applied strictly on all, and where no corruption, no nepotism, no favoritism is tolerated at all: sheer efforts, honesty and principle make the difference.

Coming to Ethiopia less than ten years ago, the company, the Nile Petroleum which is a Sudanese public company, is now the 4th strongest company in market share, moving towards the third place at present, in Ethiopia. It provides 85% of the Ethiopian market fuel needs.

The company is steadily climbing the ladder of success “we believe we are going to take the lead, god willing, just in the coming month of March” he stated matter-of-factly. In March next year, the company would be fully grounding its 107 service stations, covering the whole country.

Still the slender, assertive and mild speaking engineer shows no signs of boasting. He modestly attributes all success to the cooperation of the Ethiopian government that led his company, the Nile Petroleum company to success.

Azhari explains that back in the Sudan, the Nile Petroleum company is actually the largest market share corporate.

Following close cooperation between the governments in Khartoum and Addis Ababa, the Sudanese minister for Petroleum, decreed in 2003, that the company establish an offshoot in Ethiopia.

Four year later, 2007, the company moved to Ethiopia and initiative its operations in Addis Ababa. The company is expanding and is expected to receive the certificate of excellence for the second time this year.

Azhari, a 1988  graduate of the Sudan University of Science & Technology , College of Engineering, Sudan, argued that what was interesting in the work of the company was “ it is the first company in Africa and in the middle East” to introduce biofuel.

Biofuels are defined as liquid fuels that have been derived from other materials such as waste plant and animal matter. The two main types of biofuels currently in production are bioethanol and biodiesel. Bioethanol is used as a replacement for petrol and biodiesel is used as a replacement for diesel.

The Nile petroleum company is now providing bioethanol, benzene mixed with ethanol, Azhari said.

The civil engineer (Structure) explained that this combination is one of the best means to staving off pressure for provision of hard currency needed to import benzene.

“I think this could be one of the best ideas to apply back in the Sudan”, he proposed, seeing it succeed in Ethiopia.

The company is also moving in to take its share in the cooking gas market in Ethiopia, though the country does not rely on this fuel much.

Azhari said the company now provide 33% of the country’s need of cooking gas and is furthermore, providing services even to other international companies operating in Ethiopia in this field.

He attributed this to the “high standards and exemplary safety measures applied “by his company which is also agent to an international company distribution of lubricant and heavy engine oils.

All in all, he added his company’s service stations distribute 18 million liters of fuel monthly “which is a very huge quantity. But we are planning and sure to be able to distribute over 40 million liters by March 2017”.

That was not all, according to Azhari, the company has added new services to its logo and brand e.g.: Nilemart, Nile café. These are services provided at the service stations of these companies. Nile mart is a chain of malls that provide all good and commodities you could buy after having received your fuel. While Nile café provide all the services that you need, coffee and other refreshments that are served in a café. It is client friendly and market oriented company, one journalist said.

But Azhari made it clear the success wasn’t his own making. It is a joint work of his government and that of Ethiopia and the continued research and quest for perfection.

“We are receiving every assistance from the Ethiopian government and from the Ethiopian Petroleum Corporation. They understand and help us with securing hard currency to get new and up-to-date equipment and update our machinery. They remove hurdle.” He said in praise of the government in Addis Ababa.

Azhari said his company, located about 12 km south west of down town Addis Ababa, believed that such priceless assistance from the government could only be “recompensed by providing the best possible service for our brothers in Ethiopia”.

Although providing best quality service is, I believe, another way guaranteeing that Nile Petroleum’s success is maintained, still leadership matters, thus our praise of the man mentioned above in this portrait.

E N D

MO/AS