KPRL revives proposal to sell electricity to the national grid

Kenya Petroleum Refineries acting Chief Executive Joseph Ndoti. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL) is eyeing the sale of electricity to Kenya Power by the end of next year.

The refinery put up a 9.3 megawatt (MW) power plant in 2012 for its internal use and planned to offload excess capacity to the grid, but this has gone unused for more than a decade now.

At the time, the Changamwe-based facility, which was importing and refining crude oil, was a heavy consumer of electricity but explained that it resorted to generating its own power due to frequent outages that contributed to high operational inefficiencies.

KPLC acting Chief Executive Joseph Ndoti said the firm has engaged State-owned power producer KenGen to offer consultancy on getting the plant operational.

He said KenGen would advise on how to monetise the thermal power plant.

"The power plant was a solution to the frequent blackouts then that were increasing the inefficiencies of KPRL during processing. The refinery's peak then was estimated to be between 4.5 and six megawatts when the refinery was operating at full capacity. The plan was to export the balance to the national grid. However, as soon as the project was completed in 2012, the decision to stop refining came into effect rendering the plant idle," said Mr Ndoti.

"We have recently signed a technical service agreement with KenGen, which is coming in as a consultant. We are working on a grid study that will inform, among other things, the technical requirements for us to feed the national grid and the tariff.

"The initial feasibility study done by KenGen shows that the power plant is viable. We hope that by the end of next year, we will have hooked this plant to the national grid and we will be exporting about eight megawatts to the national grid."

The factors that led to the delay of the decision on how to utilise the power plant included a lengthy exit process by Essar, which owned a 50 per cent stake in KPRL but decided to quit in 2013. The exit was not finalised until June 2016.

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