July 15, 2019 [The Star] – Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is now counting on the new Sh1.7 billion Kisumu Oil Jetty and improved infrastructure at its Eldoret depot to grow its petroleum export market in the region.
This is in the wake of increased competition from the Central Corridor which connects the region’s landlocked countries to the Port of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), to which Kenya has lost about 20 per cent of its export business in recent years. The KPC management is now hoping the Kisumu jetty becomes operational by end of this year to help it recapture the lost business.
The facility’s construction commenced in June 2017 with the contractor–Southern Engineering Company (SECO) handing over to KPC on February 28 last year, after completion. However for KOJ to become fully operational, there has to be counterpart oil jetties at various lake ports ready to safely receive and discharge products into bulk oil terminals.
Uganda is the biggest bet for Kenya as it is developing two facilities one in Jinja by the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and One Petroleum, while Mahathi Infra Services is expected to set up a facility at Bukasa Inland Port.
Kenyan authorities are now hoping Uganda will fast track completion of the projects to create an efficient and commercially viable integrated marine fuel transportation system for the region.
“Uganda said they will be ready by end of this year. For us we are ready, if you give us a barge (small tankers) today, we will fill it,” KPC Chairman John Ngumi told The Star yesterday.
A team from Kenya, led by KPC general manager infrastructure, visited Uganda between June 11-12 to see the progress.
“There is much progress especially after the government did away with an exclusive deal it had given Mahati. One Petroleum in partnership with the Uganda National Oil are refurbishing a vessel which they plan to use for a dry run test,” KPC general manager strategy Disterius Nyandika told the Star on Phone.
On Friday, KPC’s Kisumu acting depot manager Paul Mibei said oil marketers and private logistic firms have signaled readiness to commence using the facility, which is expected to deliver petroleum products to Uganda, Rwanda into Burundi, Eastern DRC and parts of Tanzania.
KPC has two major facilities in the Western region–the Eldoret depot and Kisumu depot with storage capacities of 48 million litres and 45 million litres respectively.
Uganda remains Kenya’s top export market for imported oil products (super petrol, diesel, kerosene and Jet A 1-aviation fuel).
“Seventy per cent of our exports go to Uganda. We are keen to maintain that market and even grow it further not only for Uganda but the entire region,” said Fridah Kirui, senior customer relations officer– Eldoret.