New oil terminal in hot start as fuel tankers dock

Oil tanker ship before docking at the Mombasa Port. [File, Standard]

It is all systems that go at the new Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) II commissioned over a fortnight ago by President Uhuru Kenyatta as oil tankers have docked to discharge petroleum products at the Port of Mombasa.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) reports that Elka Appolon has been discharging at the old KOT laden with 79,773 tonnes of gas oil.

At the new KOT, Athina has discharged 3985.7 tonnes of gas oil, Elka Athina 89,290 tonnes of gasoline and Margarita a combined 45,570 tonnes and 18,189 tonnes of gas oil and gasoline, respectively. The port is also now offering pilotage services at KOT round the clock.

KPA Acting Managing Director John Mwangemi said the operationalisation of the new oil terminal will see marine operations including pilotage services offered on a 24-hour basis. “This shall improve molecule fluidity in the mid-stream supply chain and ensure price stability of petroleum products in Kenya and the region,” he said.

KPA Harbour Master and General Manager (Marine Operations) Godfrey Namadoa said completion of KOT II will see Mombasa port double its capacity in handling oil and petroleum products. “We have prepared well for this new task and are ready to deliver,” he said.

Construction of the terminal by China Communications Construction Company commenced in February 2019.

KPA General Manager for Corporate Services Edward Kamau said the new facility is an offshore island terminal with four berths whose total length is 770 metres. Three berths are ready for use.

“The offshore facility shall be able to discharge and backload three larger petroleum tankers simultaneously to facilitate the importation and exporting of six different hydrocarbon products,” he said. terminal can concurrently handle vessels of up to 170,000 deadweight tonnes. Some of the key products being offloaded are diesel, petrol, heavy fuel oil, kerosene, aviation fuel and liquefied petroleum gas.

Mr Kamau said the oil industry is a key driver and main artery to the business and economic growth of Kenya and the region. “Operationalisation of the new KOT shall streamline marine oil terminal operations to enhance safety and operational excellence,” he said.

“This will also enhance the provision of quality services and provide an avenue to optimise resources to reduce petroleum tanker vessel delays, improve turnaround time and eliminate demurrage.” He said the new terminal will bring on board significant change for the oil industry.

Meanwhile, Mombasa port has registered steady growth in volumes of steel and iron products, bolstered by a boom in the construction and real estate sectors.

For the past five years, iron and steel imports have recorded a steady rise, registering an annual growth of 10.9 per cent from 1.63 million tonnes handled in 2017 to 2.47 tonnes in 2021.

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