Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is renovating the crude oil exportation facility at the Mombasa port in readiness for the exportation of the country’s first crude oil from next month.
Reports indicate buyers from India and China have expressed interest in the Kenyan oil.
KPA Operation and Harbour Master General Manager Captain William Ruto yesterday said port engineers are installing modern equipment to evacuate the oil from the Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT).
“...the engineers are working at KOT to revamp the facility before the exportation of crude oil from Ngamia 8 in the Turkana oil fields starts,” said Ruto.
British firm Tullow Oil has been transporting 600 barrels of crude oil from its Turkana oil fields daily to Kenya Petroleum Refinery Ltd (KPRL) at Changamwe in Mombasa.
Mr Ruto said he expects the work at KOT facility to be completed before August 2 in readiness for the shipping out of the first consignment.
“We expect the ships for the exportation to dock at Mombasa port between August 11 and 15 this year when the oil will be pumped into them from the KPRL Changamwe depot,” said Captain Ruto.
Tullow has already transported more than 60,000 barrels of crude oil from Turkana to the Changamwe depot.
Captain Ruto said the lack of adequate oil storage facilities at the port had led to incessant delays in the discharge of the commodity by vessels.
He cited the case of Motor Tanker Nissos Christiana, which arrived in Kenya on June 26, but was kept waiting in the high seas for over 16 days before berthing on Monday to discharge its imported cargo.
“We have to put up a new oil terminal in the port as quickly as possible to avert this problem because of demurrage paid by the importers who later pass the expenses over to the consumers is adding to the cost of the commodity,” said Captain Ruto.
Among the ships waiting to discharge their cargo include MT East Wind, MT Navig Precision, and MT Sti Gratitude.
Tullow has warned in the past that continued delays in getting the Kenya oil project underway could erode the value of the project.
This is as the world makes progress in the adoption of cleaner and renewable energy, shunning fossil fuels.