Kenya is set to embark on a feasibility study for a 790 km crude oil pipeline connecting the country to Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The Lamu–Isiolo–Moyale pipeline will be part of the Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia–Transport Corridor project, which is aimed at not only facilitating the easy transport of goods in the eastern part of Kenya but also tapping opportunities in landlocked Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has directed Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) to immediately undertake the feasibility study.
“The Lamu Isiolo pipeline will open up the eastern corridor to Ethiopia. KPC must conduct the feasibility study this year,” he says.
The pipeline will ensure that Kenya captures the Ethiopia market, as the Horn of Africa country lacks a pipeline.
Last year, Ethiopia decided to shelve plans to construct a pipeline connecting it with the Port of Djibouti, preferring to maximise the use of the $4-billion railway line connecting the two countries, which was inaugurated in 2016.
Ethiopia is among the leading consumers of petroleum products in East Africa, with demand of about four-million tons a year and a growth rate of 10% a year forecast. The country’s petroleum import bill currently stands at $3-billion a year.
Investing in a new pipeline targeting the Ethiopian and South Sudan markets comes soon after the completion of the $470-million pipeline project running from the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi.
Dubbed Line 5, the pipeline is expected to address perennial oil transport challenges, which contribute to the high costs of fuel in Kenya.
The 20-inch-diameter pipeline will pump 1 000 cubic metres of oil an hour.
The new pipeline is expected to ensure sustained, reliable and efficient transport of petroleum products not only in Kenya but also in the wider East Africa region and to meet demand in the next 30 years.