The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is undertaking a number of petroleum infrastructure projects to enhance the availability of fuel at home and in the neighbouring countries.
They include the replacement of pipelines, the enhancement of storage capacity, and investment in loading facilities.
With efficient infrastructure, Kenya is assured of adequate, reliable and cost effective supply of petroleum products across the region.
However, the increase in local and regional demand for petroleum products has not been matched by the development of infrastructure. This is the strategic gap KPC seeks to bridge to fuel the national and regional economies.
Regional demand for refined petroleum has increased to 13 per cent of Kenya’s total exports, making it the third largest export product after tea and cut flowers.
Last year alone, Kenya exported about 2 billion litres of refined petroleum products to the East African countries and Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda leads the pack, having imported products worth more than Sh1 billion last year.
The completion of the pipeline from Sinendet in Rift Valley to Kisumu (Line 6) last year has boosted petroleum products availability in western Kenya and the export market of Uganda, eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and northern Tanzania.
The installation of additional loading facilities to cope with the rising demand for petroleum product uplifts at KPC’s Eldoret depot, which serves western Kenya and the neighbouring countries, is complete.
Since the new truck loading facility became operational in July, Eldoret’s capacity has increased from 4 million litres to 6.5 million litres a day.
This has increased efficiency, maximising the benefits of the Nairobi-Eldoret pipeline. There will be no need for trucks to drive to Nairobi to fetch fuel, which increases pump prices.
The construction of the Kisumu Oil Jetty on Lake Victoria, which is expected to be completed by end of the year, will boost fuel exports to East Africa through Uganda and Tanzania.
The jetty is expected to enhance throughput in Kisumu by 1 billion litres a year in phase 1 and up to 3 billion litres by 2028.
The project has the potential to turn Kisumu into a focal regional point of oil and gas commerce, making it one of the busiest inland ports in Africa.
The projects have been going on in tandem with the Sh48 billion new Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline project (Line 5), the country’s second largest infrastructure undertaking, which will be commissioned by the end of the year.
The completion raises hopes of lower road maintenance costs, considering the hundreds of trucks to be removed from the roads.
The new line will see the installation of four new pump stations at Changamwe, Maungu, Mtito Andei and Sultan Hamud and two booster pumps in Kipevu, complete with firefighting systems, other energy efficient equipment and pipeline monitoring technologies for efficiency and safety.
With the completion of Line 5, there is a need for enhanced operational flexibility in Nairobi as higher volumes of fuel will be pumped upstream.
The KPC has erected four new tanks at the Nairobi Terminal to provide sufficient capacity for receipt of higher volumes of diesel, super petrol and jet fuel. They will be commissioned before the end of the year.
By investing in infrastructure projects to improve on how fuel gets to our customers and consumers, Kenya has an opportunity to bolster regional business and strengthen ties with the neighbouring countries as it strives to transform the lives of its people.
By Joe Sang
Mr Sang is the managing director, Kenya Pipeline Company. firstname.lastname@example.org