Vice President Boakai Dedicates first Regional TOTAL Service Station in Buchanan

Sunday, 24th October 2010

Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai on Saturday, October 23 dedicated the first Regional TOTAL Service Station in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

Performing the ceremony on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was chairing a Cabinet Retreat convened to review progress made on the Poverty Reduction Strategy or “Lift Liberia” initiative, Vice President Boakai observed that an investment of that nature was a manifestation of confidence in the Liberian economy.

He said such investments also bring respect and pride to Liberians and suggest a new awakening for the post-war country. “TOTAL is changing our landscape. For most of us who grew up here, we’ve been seeing gas stations, but TOTAL doesn’t build only gas stations, they build service stations with mini marts to serve travelers . TOTAL has brought dignity to the purchase of gasoline products and servicing of vehicles,” Vice President Boakai further observed.

He commended the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Government for creating the ideal environment for this type of investment to come to Liberia, and commended the National Investment Commission, Commerce Ministry and other Government agencies that laid the groundwork for this type of investment to come to Liberia.

He averred that building such a station in Buchanan is in no way intended to put smaller investors out of business, noting that “a quality service of this nature is needed to create employment, establish new standards, and bring dignity to the community in which it is located”.

He thanked the management of TOTAL for assuring that similar service stations would be built in all parts of the country and promised government’s continued protection for property and security.

In remarks, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC), Mr. T. Nelson Williams, Jr., disclosed that LPRC last Friday signed a US$22 million contract to rehabilitate and expand its Tank Farm to increase Corporation’s capacity to supply customers like TOTAL.

Mr. Nelson thanked the management of TOTAL for an enduring and enterprising partnership, adding, “It has been a good ride with TOTAL as one of our major importers in the country”.

For his part, the Managing Director of TOTAL Liberia, Mr. Olivier Lassagne, described the dedication of the first regional service station as a “historic day” for Liberia and for the management of TOTAL.

He disclosed that since TOTAL took over from Exxon Mobil in Liberia about five years ago, the company has invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and training people to develop their activities so as to bring quality fuel and services to all their customers and to support the booming Liberian economy.

He said since its arrived in Liberia, TOTAL has been refueling aircraft at RIA and Spriggs Payne and supplying lubricants and fuel to major companies and institutions, including Arcelor Mittal, UNMIL, Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) as well as vessels and ships docking at the Free Port of Monrovia, and said the company hopes to soon begin supplying vessels and ships docking at the Port of Buchanan.

Mr. Lassagne assured that TOTAL will build a service station in every city and every county in Liberia, saying that service stations will be built in Gbarnga, Bong County, Tubmanburg, Bomi County, Kakata, Margibi County and Ganta in Nimba County before the end of the year.

“I can tell you more will follow next year and the year after and again and again. We plan to open around eight to ten service stations every year during the next five years,” Mr. Lassagne said, noting that each service station which provides minimart, car care, car servicing, oil change and other services, costs TOTAL one million dollars.

He said the fact that it plans such huge investments in Liberia indicates that TOTAL believes in Liberia and wants to be part of the development of the post-war country.

“We want all Liberians, wherever they are, to be able to enjoy the quality products and services offered by TOTAL and by doing that we will support Government’s employment actions, as we create between 14 and 15 jobs per service station,” Mr. Lassagne emphasized.