Kenya was last week set to commission a multipurpose pipeline from the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, in a major milestone in its quest to enhance efficiency in the transport of petroleum products.
Construction of the $470-million pipeline, implemented by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), started in 2014.
The project was financed by a consortium of six banks that included South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank.
“Once this project is commissioned, Kenya will be assured of an adequate, reliable and cost-effective supply of petroleum products across the East Africa region,” says KPC MD Joe Sang.
Demand for petroleum products in Kenya increased from 4-billion litres in 2013 to 5.7-billion litres in 2016 and is projected to increase further to 6.8-billion litres by 2020.
Across the region, in Uganda, Rwanda and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, demand stands at 3.5-billion litres in 2016 and is projected to top seven-billion litres by 2020.
The 450 km Mombasa–Nairobi pipeline (Line 5), which has a 20-inch diameter, is capable of pumping one-million litres of oil an hour.
The new pipeline will operate concurrently with the existing 40-year-old 14-inch Line 1, which can pump 730 000 ℓ/h.
Owing to the higher volumes of fuel that will be pumped upstream, KPC has constructed four additional storage tanks at its Nairobi terminal with a combined capacity of 133.5-million litres.
The commissioning of the pipeline comes soon after KPC oversaw the completion of the Kisumu Oil Jetty on the shores of Lake Victoria that will help boost fuel exports to East Africa through Uganda and Tanzania.
The jetty is expected to boost throughput in Kisumu by one-billion litres a year during Phase 1 and up to three-billion litres a year by 2028.
“With such volumes, the project has the potential to turn Kisumu into a focal point of oil and gas commerce in the region, making it one of the busiest inland ports in Africa,” says Sang.