Rwanda takes steps to fend off new fuel crisis

KIGALI - Following reports that the Kenyan Mombasa oil refinery is due to shut down to undergo rehabilitation, Rwanda has started laying strategies to mitigate the possibility of a likely fuel crisis during this period.
Trucks line up for at a filling station to be refuelled during the recent fuel crisis that hit the region. (File Photo).
Trucks line up for at a filling station to be refuelled during the recent fuel crisis that hit the region. (File Photo).

KIGALI - Following reports that the Kenyan Mombasa oil refinery is due to shut down to undergo rehabilitation, Rwanda has started laying strategies to mitigate the possibility of a likely fuel crisis during this period.

The Kenya Petroleum Oil Refineries Ltd (KPRL) recently announced that it would be shutting down the Mombasa refinery plant for almost a month for rehabilitation.

In an interview with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Trade and Commerce, Antoine Ruvebana said that Rwanda will not be affected by the closure of the refinery since the country consumes less by-products of oil that are produced by the Mombasa plant.

“The Mombasa refinery plant produces much of the oil we use here in Rwanda but its closure will not affect us since there will be input of white oil instead of black oil that was being imported from Kenya,” said Ruvebana.

Normally after the refinery process the products that come out are referred to as white oil while black oil is the unrefined oil. According to Ruvebana the transportation and importation of black oil is cheaper than that of white oil since more by-products of oil can be produced from the black oil.

Usually products like petrol and diesel are the main products of while oil while Benzene, cooking gas, kerosene and heavy fuels that are used in factories for burning are categorised as by-products of black oil.

According to Ruvebana, white products will not be affected since they will be easily imported direct from the source to Mombasa and then Rwanda.

He however noted that apart from fuel and diesel, prices of other oil products are likely to go up but they would immediately normalise after the refinery reopens.

Media reports have quoted the engineering manager of the plant, Charles Nguyai, saying that the exercise of refurbishing the plant is expected to start on June 1, and would include equipment inspections, repairs, preventive and proactive maintenance.

The previous shut downs were conducted in 2004 and 2006. Meanwhile, in a new development, the rehabilitation of Bigogwe oil reservoir that has a storage capacity of close to 5million litres has ended while the rehabilitation Rwabuye is in its final stages.

The new reservoirs would allow  diesel trucks that have been stranded to find where to offload their cargo. 

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