For 58 years, Kenya has been relying on the aging systems at Kipevu Oil Terminal to feed the country’s oil needs.
Land-locked Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi as well as parts of Tanzania and DRC also combine to import roughly over 4.5 million tonnes of oil products per year through the Mombasa port.
The old oil terminal is, however, set for retirement as the Kenya Ports Authority paves the way for a new, Kes40 billion offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal, the largest of its kind in Africa. The new facility is set up right opposite the old one.
The construction of the 770-meter long jetty, whose works are currently at 96 percent complete, is wholly financed by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and implemented by China Communications Construction Company.
Construction of the new terminal that started in 2019 will give rise to four berths implying that four oil ships can dock at the same time compared to the old one where only one ship could use at a time.
When complete by April, this year, the offshore facility will be able to load and offload giant sea tankers of up to 200,000 DWT shipping all categories of petroleum products including crude oil, white oils, and cooking gas (LPG).
At the moment, LPG is handled by privately-owned terminals in Kenya. The LPG terminal could play a pivotal role in helping stabilise cooking gas prices while also boosting uptake.
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Speaking inspection tour on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was accompanied by visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, said the new jetty will enhance the supply and ensure price stability of petroleum products in Kenya and the region by replacing the 50-year old onshore Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT).
The new terminal is served by five sub-sea pipelines that are set at a depth of about 26 metres under the seabed to allow efficient dredging of the channel without interfering with the pipes.
“This terminal once commissioned in a few weeks time will result in the saving of almost Shs 2 billion that we are currently paying every year because of demurrage occasioned by the long queues of vessels parked outside our harbour waiting to discharge their product,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President hailed Kenya’s development ties with China saying the arrangement had helped deliver key infrastructure projects, adding that the Asian nation was steadily opening up its domestic market to Kenyan exports.
“We needed this facility to be able to cater for those demands and China was there when we asked for partnership in developing it,” the President said.
He added: “They were there ready to work and walk with us hand-in-hand and that indeed is what we call a friend. We do not need lectures about what we need, we need partners to help us achieve what we require”.
Minister Wang Yi, who was accompanied by Qian Keming (Vice Minister, Minister of Commerce), Wu Jianghao (Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and his country’s Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjiang assured President Kenyatta of China’s continued commitment to supporting Kenya’s development agenda.