TZ tycoon Awadh single biggest loser in gas spat

A Hashi petrol station in Nyeri town. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Hashi petrol station in Nyeri town. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Tanzanian gas vendor Lake Gas jumped to the top of Kenya’s LPG market by the end of March but is now set to be the main loser after a ban on imports from the EAC country.

Latest data from the industry lobby Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) shows that by the end of the first quarter, Lake Oil Group had secured 23.5 per cent of the local LPG market, pushing it ahead of French giant Total that had a share of 19.7 per cent.

It is owned by Dar tycoon Ally Etha Awadh who recently acquired Kenya’s Hashi Petroleum retail fuel business.

Sources knowledgeable about the deal said he, however, did not take the cooking gas business, with Hashi registering a credible but lower eight per cent share in the market over the period.

Hashi commanded 22.2 per cent of the LPG market in September 2016, falling to 16.4 per cent in December and then eight per cent March this year.

The Tanzanian firm’s market share went up from 14.1 per cent in December 2016, having not featured on the list of PIEA’s top gas suppliers as recently as September 2016.

The firm that also manufacturers cylinders in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam has been trucking in LPG from its large depot in Tanga.

In April, the government banned import of gas through the Kenya-Tanzania border, intending to eliminate illegal filling plants that are deemed a safety risk, provoking the ire of Dar.

“The challenge has been that with the current arrangement, it is not possible to sample and subject the LPG to laboratory tests to determine the quality.

Hence, the country has to rely on certificates of quality from the load port,” the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) told Business Daily in an earlier email.

Lake officials were yet to respond to the Business Daily’s queries on the effect of the ban on its business by the time of going to press.

The firm has been selling its branded gas locally but mostly supplied independent re-fillers cutting the retail cost substantially.