KPC to shorten testing time for petroleum products in lab


Senior Chemist Mary Njeri Ngotho Testing density of Petrol at the Quality control laboratory Nairobi terminal at KPC head office. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya Pipeline Company today received the go-ahead to test petroleum products across its laboratories, a move that is expected to see the firm now undertake testing of fuel internally and reduce the time taken from a day to just six hours. 

The company has to date been outsourcing most of the testing to the Swiss testing and inspection from SGS but has now received accreditation from the Kenya National Audit Service (Kenas) for its six labs spread out along the pipeline route, which will now enable it to conduct the tests at its laboratories.

This will reduce the amount of time that ships have to wait before they start discharging petroleum products being imported to the country.

Delays experienced before a ship discharges the imported fuel into the KPC tanks in Mombasa usually attract a fee referred to as demurrage and this is regarded as a prudently incurred cost by the importing oil marketing company and passed on to consumers. 

“We have been testing products outside our depots with SGS and this normally takes 24 hours, with this accreditation, the turnaround time will be about six hours,” said Joe Sang, managing director KPC.

“We are also planning to commercialise the laboratory services to entities such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards and other organisations including private sector players and this will mean an additional revenue stream for KPC.”

Sang further disclosed that the state-run pipeline company has been spending Sh20 million annually on outsourcing the service. The company has seven testing sites, two in Mombasa and another two in Nairobi as well as in Nakuru, Eldoret, and Kisumu. 

“Oil marketing companies will be able to test their products at the point of convenience at our depots in the different towns and cities,” said Sang. 

Kenas said the accreditation it issued to KPC was the largest multi-site accreditation in Eastern Africa. 

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