Editorials

Fix pipeline to avert tragedy

kpc

Kenya Pipeline Company’s depot in Eldoret. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The leakages have led to loss of an unknown quantity of fuel and left a trail of environmental damage that can take years to repair.
  • Leakages along the 16-inch pipeline prompted the construction of a Sh51 billion line parallel to it as a replacement. 
  • The line suffered similar leakages in the area in September 2018 and in 2011 in what is blamed on the soil type as well as weaknesses on the corroded 40-year-old line.

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) should establish the cause of leakage on the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline and solve the problem once and for all. The leakages have led to loss of an unknown quantity of fuel and left a trail of environmental damage that can take years to repair.

Leakages along the 16-inch pipeline prompted the construction of a Sh51 billion line parallel to it as a replacement. But KPC has dedicated the old line to transporting dual purpose kerosene combining Jet-A1 and paraffin.

The line suffered similar leakages in the area in September 2018 and in 2011 in what is blamed on the soil type as well as weaknesses on the corroded 40-year-old line.

Lack of a leak detection system has been costly to KPC which has also suffered similar breaches on the new 20-inch pipeline popularly known as line 5. Also, previous leakages along the old line that went unresolved ended in loss of property and lives.

The 2012 Sinai fire tragedy in which 100 people died, 160 were injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed was linked to a leaking gasket. KPC needs to learn from its past mistakes and avert a potential disaster.