By Claire Wanja
The Nairobi-Mombasa oil pipeline, which is scheduled for completion end of April, is now 80 per cent complete.
The contractor, Zakhem International, has begun installation works for the 8 mainline pumps which have arrived in the country. Each of the line’s 4 stations (Maungu, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud and Changamwe) will have 2 mainline pumps each.
Four transformers for Line 5 are also in the country and installation works are underway. The transformers will be installed in the line’s 4 pump stations in Maungu, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud and Changamwe.
KPC’s Managing Director, Joe Sang said the project is still on course and will be ready for commissioning by mid this year.
“The new line once complete will adequately serve the country’s demand which is projected to be 6.8 billion litres in 2020,” said Sang in a statement to newsrooms.
The new line will enhance KPC’s pipeline devolution plan into the counties by increasing product availability in Nairobi that will feed into spur lines into Western Kenya, Central Kenya, Rift Valley and South Nyanza regions.
The new pipeline will also improve the reliability of fuel supply to the export market of Uganda, Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which in 2010 stood at 2.4 billion litres but has since risen to 3.5 billion litres in 2016.
With a one million litres per hour flow rate, the line will remove an average of about 700 trucks from the road daily at maximum utilization.
“This will enhance safety because pipeline transportation of fuel is the safest and most cost effective way of transporting petroleum products the world over. There will therefore be no tanker accidents, fuel fires, siphonings on our roads hence saving lives and conserving our environment,” said Sang.
KPC is replacing the existing Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline that has been in operation for 38 years. A Vision 2030 flagship project, the construction of the 20 inch diameter 450km pipeline will ensure sustained, reliable and efficient transportation of petroleum products in the region and meet demand in the next 30 years. The pipeline will have an installed flow rate of 1 million litres per hour in phase one.
Meanwhile, the transportation of oil from Lokichar in Turkana County to the Mombasa refinery will begin in June this year.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau says over 70,000 barrels of crude oil will be transported by road for the very first time under the Early Oil Pilot program.
The Eldoret – Leseru–Lokichar Road is being upgraded to facilitate the transportation of the oil in addition to the construction of 700 kms of roads to and from the oil fields. Kamau says 30 percent of the transportation will be done by local contractors where Tullow oil has already floated the tender.
The oil has been going through extended tests to evaluate its viability and characteristics and the crude oil will be stored in Mombasa until sufficient quantities for export are met .
Under this arrangement Tullow oil will commence with the production of 2,000 to 4,000 barrels per day.
Kenya has plans to construct a 865-kilometer crude oil pipeline linking oil fields in the northern region to the Mombasa Port.
At the moment, the government is currently evaluating bids for the pipeline’s design as well as conducting an environmental assessment study to determine which route the pipeline will take.
Kamau however notes it is too early to celebrate as there is still a long way for Kenya to go before commercial production of oil can begin in 2020.