advertisement

Corporate

Power surge leaves western Kenya without petrol

Kenya Pipeline Company depot in Eldoret. Fuel shortage has persisted in western Kenya since the weekend when a power outage disrupted pumping of the products.
Kenya Pipeline Company depot in Eldoret. Fuel shortage has persisted in western Kenya since the weekend when a power outage disrupted pumping of the products. 

Fuel shortage has persisted in western Kenya since the weekend when a power outage disrupted pumping of the products.

Kenya Pipeline Company operations manager Philip Kimelu said normal pumping resumed on Sunday. Most of the filling stations in Nairobi, however, had no fuel until Tuesday evening.

The outage, lasting 14 hours, is understood to have led to a breakdown of valves in Nairobi which in turn affected onward supplies to western Kenya.

“We have managed to close the gap and are now loading all requests for pump overs,” said Mr Kimelu, adding that requests for delivery had doubled.

“We have noticed a 60 per cent increase in uplifts. We normally pump 2,000 cubic metres for Nairobi but this has now doubled to 4,000m3,” he said on telephone.

Records provided by the pipeline co-ordinator show that Nairobi has received 9.5 million litres since operations return to normal. Industry executives, however, said they were receiving less products especially in western Kenya.

“KPC says it has a lot of stocks. But our trucks still cannot load as per orders. There is no availability of ready stocks in Nakuru, Kisumu, and Eldoret,” said Mr Peter Njeru, the managing director of Riva Petroleum.

Officials at Kenya Shell said their tanks in Nairobi were now full with products after they were unable to load on Friday and Saturday. “It could be a distribution and logistics issue,” said a manager at the firm.

There are reports of hoarding products in anticipation of higher prices during the mid monthly price reviews by the sector regulator, a claim denied by major oil marketers.

MPs have accused major oil companies of hoarding products and causing an artificial shortage in parts of the country.

“The pipeline storage network is full with products worth nearly one month consumption. We want to be told why marketers are hoarding products, causing a shortage,” Karachuonyo MP James Rege, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, said Wednesday.

Independent oil marketers said hoarding of products was becoming common in the run up to price reviews, announced on the 14th of every month.

‘I have not had Super for two weeks. Most independents are out of premium petrol stocks while diesel supply is on and off. There is no depot willing to sell to us,” said Mr Venancio Kariuki, an independent dealer in Nairobi.

The independents, small Kenyan-owned firms, complain of being crowded out since the inception of price controls last December. Dealers say wholesale prices encroach on their margins.

advertisement