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Pacific Petroleum owned by Tahiti millionaire

By Fili Sagapolutele PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Nov. 17, 2009) - A senior official of British Petroleum (BP) Southwest Pacific is expected to be in the territory today to meet with Gov. Togiola Tulafono of American Samoa after the company signed an agreement to sell its South Pacific assets and operations to a French Polynesian company. BP signed the sale and purchase agreement with Pacific Petroleum Company (PPC) for BP Southwest Pacific recently, said company official Mathew Elliott in an e-mail from Australia responding to Samoa News inquiries.

Website news provider Fijilive reported over the weekend that BP Southwest Pacific does not expect any issues in its second attempt to sell its Pacific operations, which includes American Samoa.

The first attempt was with Fijian Holdings Ltd., but didn’t go through.

"The deal is expected to be concluded during the first quarter of 2010. The purchase amount is commercially sensitive," Elliott told Samoa News. "BP is very pleased with the deal with PPC."

Fijilive quotes Elliott as saying that the sale of BP Southwest Pacific "is a share sale and PPC will take over the full business, including aviation and ground fuels."

Besides American Samoa where BP is the terminal operator of the ASG tank farm in Utulei, the company’s other operations included in the sale are those in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands.

Elliott told Samoa News that "we have a fantastic team within the business in SWP (Southwest Pacific) and all of that team— employees and permanent contractors— will remain with the business under PPC."

"This is a direct reflection of the quality and strength of that team. The deal with PPC ensures the business will continue to operate and grow in a safe manner with an organization that has a proud track record in the Pacific and that our customers and staff will be well looked after," said Elliott. "This was a key consideration for BP in its negotiations for the sale of BP South West Pacific."

Elliott says he will be in American Samoa today and will be meeting with the Governor with a delegation from PPC.

Pacific Petroleum Company is owned by Tahitian millionaire Albert Moux who two years ago bought out Shell’s businesses in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and French Polynesia, according to Fiji Television and PINA news.

Pacific Petroleum Company says taking over the operations of BP Oil South West Pacific has increased its capacity to deliver in the region. PPC was formed in 2006 to buy the Shell companies in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Vanuatu.

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