By Jason Nyantino
Refined fuel exports from Kenya to Uganda, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda and other parts of the region are expected to rise with the coming into operation of the new pipeline from Sinendet in Nakuru to Kisumu. The 10-inch pipeline valued at Kshs.5.7billion was designed to deliver higher volumes of fuel to the Kenya Pipeline Company’s (KPC) Kisumu depot on the shores of Lake Victoria and it runs parallel to an already existing 6-inch pipeline to enhance petroleum product availability.
As the only ‘white oil’ pipeline operator in the region, the regional economies rely on KPC for a cost-effective and safe means of transporting petroleum products and with the new line in place, there will be enough petroleum product to power the local and regional economies. This new development will increase KPC’s competitive edge in the region and by extension reaffirm Kenya’s status as a regional economic powerhouse. For instance, 60% of the product in Kisumu is exported to the neighbouring countries and this means that the new line has brought the product closer to the consumers easing product evacuation and cross-border distribution.
China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) built the pipeline whose cardinal aim is to increase oil products supply in Western Kenya for local use and to export to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Northern Tanzania, South Sudan and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The building of the 122km pipeline started in mid-2014 and was completed in 14 months. A study done by a Chinese firm, Shengli Engineering and Consulting Company Ltd., shows that petroleum products demand in western Kenya is approximately 1.2billion litres and the export market needs about 2.3billion litres per annum.
KPC is certain that the new line will serve this market a lot more effectively because the Kisumu depot has in the past experienced shortage of petrol, diesel, kerosene and jet A-1 fuel which is now history. The depot receives fuel from Mombasa port through Nairobi, Nakuru and Sinendet. KPC’s pipeline system currently consists of 450km of Line 1 from Mombasa to Nairobi, 325km each of Line 2 and Line 4 from Nairobi to Eldoret and 122km each of Line 3 and Line 6 from Sinendet to Kisumu.
“KPC expects the new pipeline to lead to off take of petrol from Kisumu depot increasing to 2million litres daily with 60 per cent destined for export to the regional market and 40 per cent for local consumption”, KPC’s Managing Director Joe Sang said.
With the commissioning of the new line in July 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the evacuation of diesel has risen to 2million litres, kerosene to 500,000litres and jet A-1 to 1million litres daily of which 60 per cent is exported. The depot previously handled 1.1million litres of petrol, 1.4million litres of diesel, 300,000litres of kerosene and 440,000litres of jet A-1 per day.
Mr. Sang said the new line’s pumping capacity has increased oil pumping capacity has increased oil flow to Kisumu depot by an additional 350,000litres per hour to fill up the 39million litre capacity in Kisumu. “With an increased product flow to Kisumu depot of 350,000litres per hour from the previous 110,000litres per hour, the new line has drastically enhanced optimization of tank utilization, which initially stood at 30%,” KPC Chief Executive told journalists in a forum recently.
The new line is expected to increase KPC’s competitive edge in the region in conformity with the company’s new Corporate Strategic Plan dubbed KPC Vision 2025. The project has the potential of turning Kisumu into a focal point of oil and gas commerce in the region besides creating new jobs and generating necessary income for the Government to power the local economy. This is in tandem with the overall Government development agenda of transforming Kenya to a middle-income country by the year 2030.
KPC continues to be on the forefront in implementing Vision 2030 goals and aspirations through her projects and programs. Having invested about 60billion Kenya Shillings to transform their oil infrastructure across the country, the company’s goal is to have cheaper and reliable energy for the people of Kenya and those from neighbouring countries to trigger socio-economic development.