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Kenya's oil import bill drops by 12.6 per cent

By Patrick Alushula | Published Sat, April 22nd 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 21st 2017 at 20:49 GMT +3
A petrol station attendant in Nairobi fueling a car. The price of fuel has dropped. PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Kenya’s bill on importing petroleum products dropped by 12.6 per cent despite the volume imported rising by 9.5 per cent to 4.85 million tonnes.

According to the latest survey by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, total import bill of petroleum products declined from Sh226.1 billion in 2015 to Sh197.5 billion as global oil prices continued to drop.

“The relatively high crude oil production and inventory levels led to reduction in international oil prices throughout the review period,” says the survey.

The price of Murban crude oil dropped from an average $52.53 per barrel in 2015 to $44.18 per barrel in 2016. Assuming the current average exchange rate of Sh103.5 to the dollar, the country was saving about $8.35 or Sh863 on every barrel. Some 7.14 barrels of oil make up one tonne of oil.

The quantity of petroleum fuels imported rose by 9.58 per cent to 4.84 million tonnes. However, the bill dropped by Sh34.7 billion to Sh195.2 billion. This is 21.5 per cent lower than what was spent in 2013 (Sh248.7 billion).

The tonnes of lubricating oil imported into the country dropped from 10,800 tonnes in 2015 to 8,200 tonnes last year. This was replicated in the cost as importers incurred Sh1.74 billion, 29.5 per cent lower than in the previous year.

Lubricating greases also saw a decline of 200 tonnes to 2,800 tonnes even as the cost dropped by more than a quarter to Sh570 million.

Generally, the total demand for petroleum products expanded by 6.5 per cent to 5.05 million tonnes. This was mainly driven by 11.4 per cent and 10.9 per cent growth in demand for light diesel and motor gasoline respectively.

“Light diesel oil and motor gasoline collectively accounted for 70.3 per cent of the total demand in 2016,” notes the survey.

Global oil prices have been fluctuating as the market remains alert on if a deal by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and non-Opec members to cut supply will hold.