Government downplays fuel crunch

December 24, 2008

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 24 – Even as panic continued to grip motorists over the fuel shortage, the government on Tuesday moved to assure that there was enough fuel and appealed to the public to stop panic buying the commodity.

Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike told reporters that the recent shortage had been occasioned by logistic hitches which were being addressed, and were expected to normalise within a day or two.

“Between today (Tuesday) and 27th, we expect to receive through imports 53,200,000 litres of diesel, 33,560,000 litres of Super Petrol and 35 million litres of Jet Kerosene. So in terms of product availability, we are very healthy,” Mr Nyoike said.

Mr Nyoike in the meantime appealed to oil marketers not to adjust fuel prices saying there would be a continuous pump-over of oil products to the Nairobi Joint Depot to avert any possible shortages.

He said there was an aggregate stock of 18 days of Super Petrol, 18 days of automotive diesel and a total of 16 days of Jet A1 fuel at the Kipevu oil facilities.

He added that there was additional stock of Super Petrol to last four days, Diesel to last two days and Jet fuel to last 9 days in Nairobi.

The PS also said there was more shipment of fuel expected to dock at the port to ease the increased consumption, but was quick to underline that the current shortage was would not be addressed by emergency imports.

Kenya Pipeline Managing Director George Okungu speaking at the function said the oil distributor had moved to correct hitches that afflicted its distribution capacity leading to the shortage.

The two spoke after a consultative meeting with players at the Ministry of Energy.

Last Friday, Mr Okungu blamed the shortage being experienced in various parts of the country on recurrent power outages along its network, and now says the company has already purchased chips that had been destroyed by power interruptions.

He complained that frequent power failures coupled with the vandalism of its communication cables had been forcing them to shut down their systems, making it impossible to pump any petroleum products during such times.

The MD claimed the power failures experienced in November and December had led to a loss of Sh45 million, a lost throughput of over 30 million litres of fuel (which had not been transported into the system), as well as equipment breakdown.

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