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Kenya upgrades oil refinery to enable reverse flow

According to Kenya’s petroleum principal secretary, Andrew Kamau, his ministry is in the process of upgrading the existing oil refinery.

Speaking to local media the Business Daily, Kamau said government has completed modifying its ageing refinery to allow reverse flow of oil through the pipeline from onshore storage tanks to ships ahead of the start of crude exports, next month. Read more…

The modification means oil can flow in both directions; from storage tanks to ships and from ships to the tanks, media reported.

Small-scale oil exports

It is reported that Kenya is planning to move 2,000 barrels of oil daily from Turkana oilfields in northern Kenya to Mombasa port by road from mid-May.

This is anticipated to be achieved in the absence of a pipeline and will be stored at the Mariakani refinery tanks instead.

This will allow small-scale oil exports of 2,000 barrels per day from next month to test the receptivity of the oil in the global market, pending construction of the Sh210 billion ($2 billion) pipeline by 2021 to cover 865km.

Media highlighted that the pipeline will pump more oil volumes and allow large-scale exports.

Kamau said the first sea tankers will dock at the Mombasa port in June to pick up the consignment.

He said the storage facilities at the defunct Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) have been refurbished to handle the Turkana crude.

According to media, KPRL has 45 tanks, nearly half of which will store the crude from Turkana for shipment while the rest is for refined products. Read more….

Turkana crude

The reverse-flow modification will also enable Kenya to export 400,000 barrels of oil, which has been stuck in Mombasa tanks since the closure of the refinery in 2013 together with the Turkana crude, paving the way for oil marketers to recoup losses from the commodity they had imported earlier.

Media further stated that the 400,000 barrels is made up of crude oil, residue of refined oil and naphtha or flammable oil.

It is reported that the cargo belongs to oil marketers who were obligated to refine a portion of their crude at the defunct refinery at a fee before it shut down.

The government wants to dispose of the deadstock alongside the Turkana oil small-scale exports, which will occupy a small fraction of the ship per trip.

“The ship has compartments to accommodate the different components of the deadstock, comprising naphtha, high sulfur diesel, and Murban crude,” Kamau said.

Featured image: University of Ontario

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.