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Oil giant Puma Energy snaps up Belfast's former BP terminal in growth plan


The BP fuel terminal in Belfast

The BP fuel terminal in Belfast

The BP fuel terminal in Belfast

International oil giant Puma Energy has bought a former BP fuel terminal in Belfast in a multi-million pound deal. The transaction marks the first venture into Northern Ireland by Puma and is expected to support its growth in the European market.

BP's plans to sell the site, at which 11 people are employed, were first reported in Business Telegraph in August.

The 53-acre former refinery is located between George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast Harbour.

It was opened as a refinery in 1964 and was converted to a terminal in 1982.

Puma Energy said it had a long track record in the construction, maintenance and operation of terminals.

The deal comes after Northern Ireland firm LCC announced it was now the full owner of an oil terminal at Maydown in Londonderry.

LCC, which also sells petrol as Go Power, owned the terminal with Norwegian giant Statoil before the buy-out, which was announced last month.

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Puma Energy chief executive Pierre Eladari said: "This deal marks an additional milestone in the growth of our business, further supporting Puma Energy's position as one of the largest independent, integrated midstream and downstream companies operating today."

The parties did not reveal the full purchase price.

Puma Energy operates in 47 countries and was formed in 1997 in Central America.

In July last year, the firm expanded, buying an ex-refinery in Milford Haven in Wales, and three inland terminals at Westerleigh, Theale and Bedworth from Murco Petroleum.

It has around 7,800 employees and is now based in Singapore with regional hubs in Johannesburg in South Africa, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Brisbane in Australia and Estonian capital Tallinn.

It has a global network of more than 2,468 retail service stations and supplies 62 airports.

A spokesman for industry website Oilprice.com said the deal was unlikely to have an impact on prices.

"There's no indication that supply/demand fundamentals are changing in a radical way as a result of this deal," he added.

"Fuel prices are unlikely to increase in the short-term because of this. Prices, however, could become subdued if storage levels rise to August levels again."

Last year Puma Energy bought BP Australia's bitumen business.

BP is also selling its UK terminals in Hamble and Northampton, as well a stake in a terminal in Kingsbury.

Last week the company said profits had nearly halved in the third quarter as it remained under pressure from low oil prices.

The group posted underlying replacement cost profits of $933m (£762.8m) for the three months to the end of September against $1.82bn (£1.49bn) a year earlier.

BP warned that oil refining margins would continue to take a hit in the final three months of the year, but it expects production to increase slightly in the fourth quarter.

The group has been slashing costs in the face of weak global oil prices and sliding refining margins, with the cost of crude oil at around $46 a barrel in the third quarter, compared with $50 a year ago.