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No monopoly agenda, says fuel firm

Friday August 29, 2014 Written by Published in Local
Foreign-based Pacific Islands Energy denies claims that it aims to become the country’s sole supplier of fuel. Foreign-based Pacific Islands Energy denies claims that it aims to become the country’s sole supplier of fuel.

A foreign-based fuel firm says its efforts to enter a new sector of the energy market is not part of a broader agenda to monopolise the industry in the Cook Islands.

Pacific Islands Energy has submitted an application to the Business Trade and Investment Board to begin supplying diesel to foreign fishing vessels.

The BTIB is currently holding consultations with various stakeholders, and could possibly make a decision on the application at the end of September.

When asked to address the concerns a separate local fuel industry player had with its application, Pacific’s local Manager Mark Vaikai said his company’s bid strictly represents a desire to begin supplying fuel to fishing boats.

“This is not what we would term as lucrative because the fuel volumes are not significant when compared to our current business volumes,” he wrote in an email.

“Rather this is another business opportunity we would like to be involved in as we can offer competitive fuel price as well as efficient delivery over the existing foreign supplier.”

Vaikai said the fuel volumes involved in supply to fishing vessels “do not meet our company’s criteria for ‘expansion plans’.”

With regards to an assertion made by Triad Pacific Petroleum, that Pacific’s application is part of a broader plan to become the nation’s ‘sole supplier of fuel’,  Vaikai said, “Monopoly does not exists as long as one has a choice”.

He said his company has indicated to both government and the BTIB that it is not entering the ground fuel retail market – currently supplied by both TOA and Triad.

Currently, Pacific’s foreign enterprise license only permits the company to supply fuel to the aviation industry and diesel to Te Aponga.

“In any event our company is not interested in investing in the retail market simply because the relatively low fuel volume is not justifiable,” said Vaikai.

Alluding to the labelling of Pacific as a foreign entity, he said the company’s presence here “consists of 100 per cent Cook Islanders”.

In a separate venture, Pacific Islands Energy is also currently involved in a proposal with shipping company Petrocean to have a large fuel tanker moored off the reef in Panama where it would supply fuel for the local market through an “over the reef” pipeline.

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