Incorporation and Mandate

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Limited was incorporated on 6th September 1973 under the Companies Act (CAP 486) and started commercial operations in 1978. Its mandate is to transport petroleum products from the port of Mombasa into the hinterland. From 1978 up to 1994 the company had a single pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi.

Current Pipeline System

The pipeline cross country system currently consists of 450 km of Line-1 running from Mombasa to Nairobi, 325 km of Line-2 from Nairobi to Eldoret, 121 km of Line-3 from Sinendet to Kisumu, and 324 km of Line-4 from Nairobi to Eldoret. The installed maximum flow rate for Line-1 is 880 m3 per hour while Line-2 and 3 are rated at 220m3/hr and 100m3/hr respectively, Line-4 on the other hand has installed flow rate of 440 m3 per hour.

There was need to extend the pipeline into the western region of the country in order to reduce petroleum oil transportation via trucks.  In 1994 the Western Kenya Pipeline Extension consisting of Lines 2 and 3 were commissioned and started operations, 

Capacity enhancement 

Over time the demand for petroleum products in Kenya and the hinterland countries namely Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo has been increasing to the extent that KPC was not able to meet this demand therefore the need to expand its pumping capacity. In 2008 the company embarked on a capacity enhancement project. The first phase of the project involved improving the flow rate of line 1, Mombasa to Nairobi from a rated flow rate of 440m3/hr to 880m3/hr and then the introduction of line IV.

The Line VI

Line IV that runs from Nairobi to Eldoret was a continuation of the capacity enhancement project. After expanding the pipeline capacity from Mombasa to Nairobi there was need to uplift the extra product to western Kenya stations and eventually the neighboring countries. The project began in 2010 and was commissioned in 2012.The consultants to the project were Shengli Engineering and Consulting Company limited while the main contractors were China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPP). The line consists of a 14 inch steel pipeline and two pumping stations. The first pumping station is at Nairobi. It consists of 3 booster pumps and two motor driven pumps. The motors are rated at 1550kW, 3.3kV each, and the pumps 405m3/hr. The station is supplied at 66kV from KP which is in turn stepped down to 3.3kV by a 6.3MVA, 66/3.3kV, 3PH, 50Hz transformer for medium voltage loads and further stepped down to 415V by a200kVA, 3.3kV/433V transformer for the Low Voltage loads. 

The second station is situated in Nakuru, 183.4km from Nairobi. The station equally has two pumpsets one in service and the other on standby.

The motors are rated at 1550kW, 3.3kV. The station is supplied at 33kV which is stepped down to 3.3kV with a 6.3MVA, 33/3.3kV, 3PH, 50Hz transformer for medium voltage loads and 415V by a 200kVA, 3.3kV/433V transformer for a low voltage loads. None of these stations can operate without the other.

The line runs parallel to line 2. And since its flow rate is 440m3/hr it has tripled western capacity. Thus the new pipeline system has drastically enhanced capacity in the western region especially the stations of Nakuru and Eldoret to the extent that the story of fuel shortage due to limited capacity in Eldoret and Nakuru depots is now a story of the past.

The efficiency of this line cannot be overemphasized. First there are only two pumping stations as opposed to four pumping stations of line II, then a doubled flow rate. Considering that there are only two pumping stations, the cost of maintenance compared to the previous four number stations is much less. The power consumption is equally low because the difference in motor power rating of the two lines Line II and IV is 635kW in a particular station. Therefore line IV, apart from just increasing capacity to meet demand, has a well designed investment that makes a lot of economic sense. 

 

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Kenya Engineer is the definitive publication of Engineers in East Africa & beyond and the official journal of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. Kenya Engineer has been in publication since 1972.

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