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Firm fuels ‘kadogo’ economy with Pima Gas dispenser

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Premier Gas general manager Michael Momanyi during the launch of Pima Gas in Nairobi, on Tuesday February 7 2012. Diana Ngila

Premier Gas general manager Michael Momanyi during the launch of Pima Gas in Nairobi, on Tuesday February 7 2012. Diana Ngila 

By David Herbling

Posted  Tuesday, February 7  2012 at  20:46

A cooking gas dispenser has been launched that will allow consumers to refill for as little as Sh50.

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Premier Gas, a cooking gas dealer, says the new product will shield the users from health and environmental hazards associated with charcoal use.

The firm has developed a mobile calibrated LPG pump that allows for partial refills from a minimum of Sh50.

The gas will be sold through one kilogramme cylinders in the market with a refill costing Sh300.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows the country consumed 61,400 tonnes of cooking gas last year, translating into a per capita consumption of 1.59kg. This is below Africa’s average of three kilogrammes per person.

“Refilling will make it easy for consumers to purchase and use LPG. We aim to pull biomass and kerosene users to start using LPG,” said Michael Momanyi, the general manager of Premier Gas at the launch in Nairobi yesterday.

The empty one kilogramme cylinder will retail at Sh2,000. Currently, the smallest gas cylinder in the market has a capacity of 3kg.

The Pima Gas initiative comes when the price of cooking has been rising, occasioned by erratic supply caused by inadequate storage infrastructure.

Gas shortage saw the price of refilling a 13kg cylinder go up from an average Sh2,500 in the first half of 2011 to a peak of Sh5,000 in November/December.

A spot check by Business Daily yesterday established that the 6kg and 13kg LPG retail at Sh1,550 and Sh3,300 respectively.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank private sector lending arm, has invested $2million in the venture, securing a 20 per cent equity in Premier Gas.

“Our involvement in clean energy initiatives by supporting products such as Pima Gas will help reduce health risks and greenhouse emissions,” said Ms Aida Kimemia, the principal investment officer at the IFC.

IFC said low penetration of LPG portends a huge market especially for the bottom of the pyramid consumers who cannot afford a complete refill.

The moveable LPG unit has a storage capacity of 25kg. Pima Gas will retail at Sh300 per kilogramme but partial refills starts from Sh50.

Premier Gas is constructing a bulk LPG filling plant and storage facility with a capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes to ensure a steady supply of the commodity.

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