NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – Indigenous oil marketing firm Hashi Energy has disclosed plans to install Kenya’s first environment friendly option of piped natural cooking gas to houses across the country by next year.
The firm’s Commercial and Strategy Director Solomon Osundwa disclosed on Wednesday that through the venture which will initially cost between Sh40 million and Sh70 million, they will be able to ensure a continuous supply of gas to their customers while assisting them to save on the costs of cylinders.
“We are discussing with various housing developers so that we can put up bulk tanks underground which we will connect the pipe gas to the various residences,” he said although he remained guarded on which developers they were in negotiations with.
The concept is popular in the developed world but has not quite caught on in Africa and other developing countries. However, piped gas has a lot of benefits including safety as the amount of gas supplied via a piping system is minimal.
For the firm, it translates to reduced operational costs as it is much easier to transport bulk gas than when the commodity is in cylinders.
Besides the laying of the piping systems, the new initiative also calls for the availability of adequate gas, something that has been lacking in the country due to distribution and storage infrastructure constraints.
Hashi Energy however sought to assure that it can handle the demand as evidenced by its current facilities in two major towns in the country. The firm already has the second biggest Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) depot in Mombasa at 420 tonnes of cooking gas and an additional 150 tonnes one in Nairobi.
However, as they go ahead with the development of the project, the director said they would continue to market the gas cylinders to people already residing in older estates.
Osundwa spoke after the company launched the Hashi Energy Brand LPG cylinder which Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Hashi said is designed to get more Kenyans to use cleaner energy.
The Sh720 million investment, is expected to enable the firm to capture a larger market share from the current 15 percent.
“We tapped into that market and we hope to grow our market share significantly over the next three years. Our aim is to ensure that our clients are served round the clock even when the industry faces a shortage,” assured the CEO adding that they have also entered into a distribution partnership with Engen and leading retail stores.
As it embarks on these initiatives, the firm further received assurance from the government that it was doing everything possible to ensure a conducive environment for businesses to operate.
Towards this end, Energy Assistant Minister Eng Mohamed Muhamud disclosed that the ongoing construction of import handling and storage facility in Miritini Mombasa was due for completion in March 2012.
The facility will handle up to 14, 000 tonnes of LPG, and is expected to increase the consumption of cooking gas in the country as well as lower costs.
Muhamud pointed out that this and other planned projects are geared towards building a sustainable energy sector that can effectively meet its customer needs at the most affordable prices.