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KPC installs crude oil heater ahead of export

Kenya Petroleum Refinery
Crude oil storage tanks at the Kenya Petroleum Refinery in Changamwe, Mombasa. KPC is fast-tracking the upgrade of the refinery. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Preparation for early export of crude oil has moved a notch higher after the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) installed Chinese supplied Sh56 million equipment to heat crude at Mombasa’s onshore storage tanks.

The tanks are connected to the ship-loading facility in the Indian Ocean.

Acting Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) managing director Hudson Andambi said the agency was fast-tracking the upgrade of the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL) facilities ahead of Kenya’s maiden crude export from Lokichar oilfields in Turkana set for this month.

“The schedule for doing the first export is between 24th and 26th hopefully. We hope everything is okay by then,” said Mr Andambi.

Chinese manufacturer of electric steam Boilers Zozen said Monday its partners had successfully installed a steam boiler at the KPC facilities to supply the heat to keep the waxy crude oil fluid for onboarding to ships.

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“Currently, the boiler has been successfully delivered to Kenya and has completed the ignition commissioning,” Zozen said in a statement.

KPC had earlier invited tenders for modification of the pipeline to incorporate a heating component that will facilitate the flow of the waxy Turkana oil to the ships during the early exports.

This would also involve an upgrade of Mombasa’s onshore storage tanks, the ship-loading facility in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Andambi said the boiler installed at a cost of Sh56.3 million is being tested ahead of the landmark exercise to ship out Kenya’s maiden oil export later this month.

“Boilers are used to do superheated steam. This steam is the one which heats the crude and then it will be able to flow as it is waxy,” said Mr Andambi.

“Every effort is being made to ensure the first export succeeds.”

African Boreholes Initiative Ltd (ABI) and Chinese firm Shandong Kerui won the contract to supply the boiler.

Kenya has pumped out 200,000 barrels of crude oil with a current market value of Sh1.3 billion, with the country gearing up to make its first small-scale export of the commodity by September.

“We are now an oil exporter. Our first deal was concluded this afternoon with 200,000 barrels at a price of $12 million,” President Uhuru Kenyatta announced early this month.

He expressed confidence that the oil trade would help grow the economy and end poverty. “ I think we have started the journey and it is up to us to ensure that those resources are put to the best use to make our country both prosperous and to ensure we eliminate poverty,” a statement from State House after a Cabinet meeting quoted President Kenyatta as saying.

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