Rwanda to hold regional oil depot

Some regional countries will be importing petroleum products from Rwanda if a plan to construct a regional oil-pipeline that will connect Kigali and Eldoret via Kampala is achieved.
A Kigali-bound tanker on Gatuna road. It takes on average a week for a truck to leave Kigali, going to western Kenya, loading and coming back. The New Times/John Mbanda
A Kigali-bound tanker on Gatuna road. It takes on average a week for a truck to leave Kigali, going to western Kenya, loading and coming back. The New Times/John Mbanda

Some regional countries will be importing petroleum products from Rwanda if a plan to construct a regional oil-pipeline that will connect Kigali and Eldoret via Kampala is achieved.

The project is expected to be implemented within the next three years.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Christian Rwakunda, said with the storage facility in the country, Burundi, DR Congo and some parts of Tanzania will be accessing petroleum products from Kigali instead of current transportation from Eldoret in Kenya.

Currently, he said, the oil pipeline project mapping is underway and it is expected to be complete by August.   

Penspen, a UK-based company dealing in engineering and management services related to oil and gas industry, has been contracted to do the mapping.

The mapping will cost more than Rwf51 million that was contributed equally by three partner countries (Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda) and it will determine how much will be required to implement the pipeline project.

Holding the oil stocks will be an opportunity for Rwanda since it will reduce the cost of transporting fuel into the country, Rwakunda told The New Times.

“It will reduce the transportation costs; for the time being they (some neighbouring countries) will be importing it from here [Kigali] because it will be costly and time consuming to go to Mombasa,” Rwakunda said.

The amount of oil for the deport will be determined at a later date, according to the official.

The ministry said the mapping will determine where the storage facilities will be located in Kigali.

“We agreed that the project should be done in three years from now and we are working tirelessly at the technical level to have the project implemented,” Rwakunda said.

Volume of fuel reserves

Eugene Kayigamba, the vice president of Rwanda fuel importers association, said he was optimistic the project would increase the volume of fuel reserves.

“The oil pipeline project will increase the volumes and reduce substantially transport costs as well as the time used to transport fuel from the current terminals in western Kenya to Kigali. We also expect to benefit from economies of scale with this East African Community initiative,” Kayigamba said.

The country currently imports fuel using both the central and the northern corridor with the main challenge being restrictions on transit policies and other market factors.

It takes, on average, a week for a truck to leave Kigali, going to western Kenya, loading and coming back to Kigali (northern corridor), according to Kayigamba.

The period could be longer depending on waiting time for products availability.

On Tanzania route connecting Kigali to Dar es Salaam (central corridor), it might take around eight to 10 days.

Rwanda imports about 20,000m3 of oil products in a month, including petrol, diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel.

There are various risks and uncertainties that will be overcome and eliminated as far as road transportation of fuel is concerned.

The oil pipeline project aims to improve the transportation of the petroleum products in the region using a safer mode compared to road transportation.

Environmental hazards associated with transportation of oil products by roads, including spillage and fires during accidents, would be covered if the project is implemented.

The pipeline scheme, to be implemented under a tripartite arrangement, is one of the several projects that were agreed upon during a summit between the Heads of State of the three countries in Uganda in June last year. South Sudan has since been invited to join.

Leaders of the three countries agreed to establish a single tourist visa, a single customs territory also adopt national identity cards as travel documents which have already come into force, as well as fast track a joint railway line project.

 

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