Private sector joins govt to increase fuel reserves

Shortage of fuel and price instabilities could soon be history following efforts by private dealers to expand storage facilities.

Shortage of fuel and price instabilities could soon be history following efforts by private dealers to expand storage facilities.

Robert Opirah, the head of petroleum unit at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the new storage facilities are expected to hold 35 million litres of petroleum.

Currently, reserves in the country hold a total of 30 million litres.

The facilities being built by oil dealers would cost about $30m to complete, said Eugene Kayigamba, the vice-president of the Rwanda Fuel Importers Association.

“This will help counter fluctuations in fuel prices on the local market, which are mostly caused by the volatility of international price and insufficient oil reserves,” Opirah said.

Long overdue

He said bigger fuel reserves are essential to ensure the country has enough fuel to supply the market and stabilise pump prices.

“Increasing the capacity of oil reserves should have been done much earlier. This is the only way to mitigate the challenge of decline in commercial stocks, leading to prices hikes. It is also a business opportunity since we are a transit route to some of the neighbouring countries,” Kayigamba said.

Currently, total fuel storage capacity is split among the five fuel reserves at Gatsata in Kigali, Kabuye in the Northern Province, Rwabuye in the Southern Province and Kigali International Airport.

The government reserves at Rwabuye store about 3.6 million litres and five million litres at the Bigogwe facility.

The government targets to have at least 150 million litres by 2017, which it projects could run the country for about four years in case the supply chain is interrupted for a long period, Opirah said.

The government has been encouraging private investors to build storage facilities to boost the country’s reserves.

So far, Oilcom, Abbarci Petroleum Marketing Company, Oryx Petroleum, Protek and Mount Meru Petroleum Rwanda have started building new oil storage facilities.

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