Taxpayers will dig deeper into their pockets to finance a leak-detection system for the Sh51 billion Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline that burst in Makueni spilling more than 551,000 litres of oil.
Petroleum Secretary John Munyes said procurement for a state-of-the art leak-detection system was ongoing, a confirmation that earned him a barrage of questions from Senators, who wondered why the technology was not part of the original contract.
Mr Munyes was taken to task over why the system was not factored in the construction of the 450-km pipeline that was commissioned last July.
“With the lack of leak detection system, this spillage is bound to happen. But we are in process of procuring a system to detect leaks. In the meantime, KPC has developed three systems that include an inline inspection to inspect the entire 450km line,” Mr Munyes said.
The electronic gadget is supposed to check and report corrosion or reduced thickness.
The Senate committee on Energy cited negligence on the part of the Ministry and the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) in the award of the contract to a Lebanese firm, Zakhem International, for the construction of the new oil pipeline commonly known as Line 5.
Senators accused the Ministry and the KPC of failing to factor in a leak detection system in the original contract, reducing costs to taxpayers.
“It would have cost the public less if the detection system was put during the construction of the main pipeline. We see negligence on the part of the ministry and the KPC,” Ephraim Maina, who chairs the Energy committee, said. After the oil spill, waters of affected rivers were declared unsafe, leading to a clash between the county and the pipelie agency.