Kenyan oil firms on the spot over prices

September 17, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – The government on Friday accused oil marketers of inflating fuel prices and making exorbitant profits of up to Sh12 per litre, under the guise of a non-existent shortage.
Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike said the marketers were making Sh10 profit per litre on regular petrol and nine shillings per litre on diesel.

The PS maintained that there was enough stock of oil products including diesel and super petrol contrary to media reports of a shortage and appealed to the oil marketers to review the pump prices downwards to reflect the global price of crude oil.

“That is totally unacceptable. There is a lot of profiteering and serious asymmetry in pricing meaning when one of the major players decides arbitrary to increase prices for no apparent reason, the price takers just follow suit in a situation where everybody is making a sacrifice, that’s unfair,” he said.

Mr Nyoike also said that the government was making special arrangements to ensure additional import of oil products in preparation for the December holidays.

“There is no cause for panic because we have a lot of products in the system. We will make special arrangements for additional imports so that everybody will be able to access fuel without having to move from one petrol station to another,” he said.

Key industry bosses – Shell BP, Kenol Kobil and Total – left immediately after a meeting with the PS before the press briefing could begin despite having been invited to stay on.

“I requested those who wanted to stay behind and those who felt that they had other commitments or did not want to share certain information with you (press), they asked to leave,” the PS disclosed.

He said the only concern was about the physical access of the products from the Mombasa port and asked the Kenya Pipeline Company to address the issue immediately.

 “This is because of the way the system has been configured by the Kenya Pipeline Company,” the PS said.

He said that the oil marketers declined to discuss the pricing saying it was purely a private issue.

He however ruled out reintroduction of price control and said the industry should self regulate.


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