Politics and policy
Dealers blame fuel shortage on irregular supply
Posted Wednesday, August 1 2012 at 21:13
Petroleum dealers in western Kenya have accused the Kenya Pipeline Company of causing artificial fuel shortages through irregular supplies.
Marketers and depot managers said the volume of fuel products pumped to the Kisumu depot had fallen by more than half leaving retail stations with insufficient stock.
“This has been going on for close to three months now.
We do not understand how a line that serves the entire Western Kenya could be down for this long,” said Rose Auma, a petroleum distributor in Kisumu.
“We used to get 4,000 cubic meters for super petrol and 5,000 cubic meters for diesel but today we only have 2,000 cubic meters for super and 1,400 cubic meters for diesel,” a depot manager who cannot be named for protocol reasons said.
Most depot managers have resorted to trucking supplies all the way from Nakuru and Eldoret depots to ensure that motorists do not miss fuel at the filling stations. “We do not understand why the problem is only in Kisumu because supplies are normal in Nakuru and Eldoret,” Ms Auma said.
KPC operations manager Philip Kimelu said the pumping hitches were caused by power outages especially in Nakuru. “We are in talks with Kenya Power to have a line dedicated to our facility,” said Mr Kimelu.
The problem has implications on the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi which get their supplies from the Kisumu KPC depot. According to Israel Agina, Kenya Association of Manufacturers Kisumu branch official, the fuel shortage is hindering industrial production .
“The pipeline has not been upgraded to accommodate the rise in fuel demand that Kisumu has witnessed in the recent past and the current supply cannot keep up,” he said.
KPC’s Western Kenya Pipeline consists of 446 kilometres of eight and six inch diameter pipelines. At commissioning in 1994, the pipeline had a combined flow rate of 160 cubic meters per hour. Following increase in demand for products in Western Kenya and the neighbouring countries, the system’s flow rate was enhanced in 2004 to 220 cubic meters per hour.
However, data from KPCs website shows that the depot which is supposed to be the second largest in the country after Eldoret in terms of capacity has had erratic output over the last seven years.
In 2005 right after it is upgrading the volume of products passing through the port was at 758,407 cubic meters.
In 2009, the figure had dropped to 681,679 cubic meters despite increased demand of petroleum products in the western region during this time.
The KPC depot in Nakuru over the same period has witnessed a threefold increase from 170,183 cubic meters in 2005 to 477,221 cubic meters in 2009.