Sh2.8bn fuel stuck in old pipeline on water shortage


Kenya Pipeline Company [KPC] petroleum storage facility in Industrial area, Nairobi in this photo taken on January 22, 2021. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Fuel worth Sh2.8 billion has remained stuck in the old Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline for nearly a year due to insufficient water to flush out the commodity.

The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) says it has 25 million litres of automotive gas oil (AGO) commonly known as diesel in the old 14-inch pipeline that needs to be displaced from the Manyani area to Nairobi pump station 9.

A litre of diesel currently retails at Sh112.7 in Nairobi and the 25 million litres stuck in the old pipeline translates to Sh2,817,500,000.

The diesel has been stuck in the 450km pipeline since December 2020 after the KPC stopped transporting petroleum products through the 40-year-old pipeline commonly known as Line 1.

The KPC stopped transporting fuel through Line 1 following the commissioning of the new 20-inch, Sh48 billion Line 5 pipeline, that currently pumps one million litres of petroleum products per hour from its Kipevu Oil Terminal’s pump station 14 to Nairobi’s Embakasi pump station 9 (PS9).

“We have been recovering oil products from the old Line 1 and the best option has been to use soft water to displace the product from Mombasa to Nairobi,” Martin Wanyama, the KPC operations manager said.

Mr Wanyama said KPC needs 41,600 million cubic metres (41.6 million litres) of water to push out the 25 million litres of diesel.

The oil marketer said it has taken six months to get 15 million cubic metres of soft water which helped it push out the products by 171km from Mombasa to Manyani.

Mr Wanyama said the Line 1 capacity required 41.6 million litres of soft water but KPC has only managed to get 15 million litres over a six-month period to push out 15 million litres of Jet A-1 which is basically kerosene.

“The balance of 25 million litres of diesel which is stuck from the Ndii area of Manyani to Nairobi belongs to oil marketers. We need 25 million litres of water to evacuate the product before we decommission and recover the old 14 inch p1peline,” he said during a media tour of the 450 kilometer pipeline.

He said the company has entered into a deal with Mombasa Water and Coast Water Services board to tap water in Manyani from a pipeline that delivers the commodity to Mombasa from Mzima Springs.

“We have agreed to tap into the water pipeline at Ndii Area or 171km which will help us push out the stuck diesel for a distance of about 279km to Nairobi,” Mr Wanyama said.

In return, Mr Wanyama said KPC will leave intact the 171 km of the 14-inch pipeline from Ndii area of Manyani to Mombasa for use to transport water through gravity back to Mombasa from Mzima Springs, which is five to 10 kilometers from Ndii.

“This is part of our community social responsibility (CSR) following the agreement that has allowed us to tap into their Mzima 1 water pipeline,” he said.

The KPC is currently laying pipelines to connect Mzima Springs water pipeline to the old oil pipeline, a distance of about 200 metres.

Mr Wanyama said once the oil products are cleared out of Line 1, KPC will commence the process of recovering the remaining 279 kilometers of pipeline which will be sold as scrap metals.

The KPC is also considering installing a second 20-inch pipeline where Line 1 is recovered from.

[email protected]