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Vitol banks on oil terminal to boost supply in E Africa

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Merlin Figueira, the general manager of VTTI Kenya. Illustration/Joseph Barasa

Merlin Figueira, the general manager of VTTI Kenya. Illustration/Joseph Barasa  Nation Media Group

By ZEDDY SAMBU

Posted  Thursday, January 31  2013 at  21:51

In Summary

  • The new facility is expected to provide an alternative to the national storage tanks at the Kipevu Oil Storage Facility.
  • It is also expected to remove supply bottlenecks arising from frequent rehabilitation of aged tanks.
  • The added oil storage capacity in Mombasa will help to cater for the increased fuel demand in Kenya and also Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI), a Rotterdam-based global logistics firm early this week unveiled a Sh5.2 billion ($60 million) oil storage terminal, entering the Kenyan and eastern Africa market.
The international bulk storage firm says the terminal that is one of the largest and most modern in East Africa is now operational. It has a capacity of 111,000 cubic meters (111 million litres).

The new facility is expected to provide an alternative to the national storage tanks at the Kipevu Oil Storage Facility that are managed by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).

It is also expected to remove supply bottlenecks arising from frequent rehabilitation of aged tanks.

The VTTI facility comprises 10 high-tech storage tanks operated from a centralised control room.

The added oil storage capacity in Mombasa will help to cater for the increased fuel demand in Kenya and also Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Investment in the terminal is part of the company’s African expansion plans in addition to the cooking gas terminal.

VTTI in 2009 acquired the incomplete facility situated at Kipevu when it bought out the asset from major creditors of the Triton Petroleum Company. Business Daily interviewed Merlin Figueira, the general manager of VTTI Kenya.

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Tell us briefly about the new facility?  

The new state-of-the-art oil storage facility has 10 storage tanks. The facility can receive clean fuels from Kipevu Jetty and pump it back into KPC’s mainline or into our four lane automated truck loading racks.  

The terminal uses the latest technology with respect to automated tank gauging, automated tank valves, fire suppression systems, high-tech security system with 22 surveillance cameras, cone bottom in all the tanks to drain water, tank high level alarms, and impervious tank containment systems. 

The facility is operated from a centralised control room using the latest in terminal automation.

Why the time lag between project completion and commissioning?

The facility was completed in October 2012 following a long process as we bought this half built terminal through a lengthy public auction process.

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