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Oil pipeline launch set for March

The new 20-inch Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline is set for commissioning next month, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said yesterday. The launch will come as a relief to road users as the pipeline is expected to ease traffic along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, as well as significantly improve fuel supplies and stability in Nairobi, Kisumu and their environs.

Speaking when he met the National Assembly committee on energy, Keter said the pipeline will ensure the country has a stable petroleum cover. “The new 20-inch 450-km oil pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi will be completed by March,” said Keter.

The existing line has been in operation for more than 38 years. The Cabinet secretary said the main civil works for the new Sh48 billion facility is almost complete and its launching will be held in the next few weeks. “It will increases the stock levels from 17 to 20 days storage,” said Keter.

When complete it is expected to help Kenya recapture Rwanda and Burundi, which it lost to Tanzania. The final testing being undertaken on the project ahead of the commissioning include hydro-testing, station mechanical and electrical works.

The pipeline will have the capacity to pump one million litres of oil per hour from Mombasa to Nairobi. Currently, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) pumps 80 per cent of all imported oil products in the country with the remaining 20 per cent being transported by road.

The new pipeline will have four pumps located in Changamwe, Maungu, Mtito Andei and Sultan Hamud. Two booster pumps will be installed at Kipevu inside the port of Mombasa.

Construction of the line started in 2014 but was rocked by delays caused by multiple design revisions which prompted procurement hitches according to the contractor, Zakhem International Construction.

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