New lease of life for defunct Mombasa refinery after Lokichar crude
By Philip Mwakio
| June 9th 2018
Scores of youth thronged the Kenya Petroleum Oil Refineries plant in Changamwe, Mombasa, as the facility came back to life.
The plant received the first batch of the initial Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) from the oil fields of Turkana, 1,000km away on Thursday.
Four trucks with specially insulated tankers belonging to Oil Field Movers and Multiple Hauliers with a total payload of 600 barrels of crude oil started emptying the ‘Black Gold’ into a modified storage tank with a capacity of 90,000 barrels.
The brief ceremony at the KPRL plant, which has been leased to the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) for three years was officiated by Petroleum and Mining Chief Administrative Secretary John Musonik.
“We are here to receive this first batch of our Kenyan oil which was flagged off last Sunday by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Lokichar, Turkana County. When we have sufficient quantities, we shall look for a buyer of our initial oil export,” Musonik said.
He added that even as the first oil starts to drip into the storage facility at KPRL, the government was keen to upgrade the facility to meet international standards.
“It is something that will be deliberated extensively by the government so that in future, as we join the list of oil exporting nations of the world, refining can be done here,” the CAS who was accompanied by Secretary, State Department of Petroleum Martin Heya, said.
Musonik added that EOPs will fully utilise the existing oil refinery which was shut in 2013.
“The oil being received here today will be stored and when it accumulates and reaches desired levels, the government may determine when to look for an export market outside,” Musonik said.
Hundreds of locals braved the late afternoon heat to catch a glimpse of the ceremony at the storage facility.
At the sametime, Tullow Oil, the British company granted the licence to drill oil in the Turkana oil fields is currently holding 80,000 barrels of crude ready for transportation to Mombasa.
Tullow Oil Kenya Managing Director Martin Mbogo said the EOPS marks a milestone in Kenya’s quest since independence to be an oil producing nation.
“In the last 50 years, 40 wells had been dug in Kenya as prospecting for oil took shape.
“However in last five years again, another 40 wells were drilled with the final being in 2012 when we finally struck oil,” Mbogo said.
KPC chairman John Ngumi said they had spent Sh200 million to modify tanks at KPRL to allow storage of EOPs products.
He added that KPC had upgraded adjacent truck unloading bays, a steam boiler for line heating and re-heating the crude oil trucks if necessary.
“Going forward, we are banking on government policy upon expiry of the three-year lease period. We look forward to having KPC and KPRL become one entity,” he said.
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