Angola awards fuel tender to Total, Trafigura

LUANDA, May 21 (Reuters) - Angolan state oil company Sonangol said on Tuesday it had awarded its refined products buy tender for the next 12 months to Total and Trafigura .

Total will supply Angola with gasoline while Trafigura will supply diesel and marine diesel.

The results come on the back of some of the worst fuel shortages Angola has seen in years, which led to the sacking of Sonangol chair Carlos Saturnino earlier this month.

Sonangol, Angola’s largest and most influential company, blamed the shortage on difficulties accessing hard currency as well as unpaid debts owed to the energy company by industrial clients.

Heavily reliant on oil sales for government income, Angola was hit hard by the 2014 oil price crash, which pushed its economy into recession and created foreign currency shortages that crippled business.

In the statement on Tuesday, Sonangol said it had issued the tender in February with nine companies bidding for the supply contracts.

The tender result marks a return to Angola for Trafigura which for many years enjoyed an effective monopoly on lucrative fuel supply deals with OPEC member Angola.

Despite being Africa’s second-largest crude producer, Angola only has the refining capacity to supply about 20 percent of its fuel needs.

Links between Trafigura and Angola stretch beyond fuel imports, with Sonangol and Angolan company Cochan Holdings having the significant stakes in the trader’s global midstream and downstream business Puma Energy.

The choice to drop Trafigura last year was seen as a major statement at the time, as President João Lourenço vowed to reform Angola’s oil sector.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer Editing by Susan Thomas