Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is set to begin of an oil jetty in Kisumu, the country’s third largest city, to facilitate transportation of petroleum products through Lake Victoria to neighbouring countries.

The construction of the jetty is expected to begin in March and take six months to complete and will increase KPC’s competitive edge in the region as a leading oil transporter.

The company on Wednesday placed a notice in local newspapers inviting companies to tender for the construction of the Kisumu oil jetty, which is expected to boost throughput of the pipeline at Kisumu by one million litres a year under its first phase and by up to three million litres per year by 2028.

KPC Managing Director Joe Sang said the Sinendet-Kisumu Pipeline (Line 6) which became operational in April last year now ensures ample petroleum product volumes are available in the western Kenya region and the export markets of Uganda, the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and northern Tanzania.

Construction of the Jetty is now commercially feasible following completion of Line 6 which has increased product flow to Kisumu depot to 350,000 litres per hour from the previous 110,000 litres per hour, said Sang.

Sang said the new line will turn Kisumu into a focal point of oil and gas trade in the region through safe transportation of fuel across the lake using properly certified barges and ships.

The target market is around the lake and expanding the export market into Uganda and mines in northern Tanzania. The jetty will also create integrated marine fuel transportation in the region making it more efficient and commercially viable and reduce transportation costs for the oil marketing companies, said Sang.

The additional petroleum products will also enhance optimization of tank utilization in Kisumu, which previously stood at 30 per cent. The full tank capacity for the port town is 39 million litres while the annual demand for petroleum products in western Kenya is 1.1 billion litres whereas the regional demand stands at 3.3 billion litres.

Line 6 is a 5.7 billion shillings (about 55 million US dollars) 122-kilometre 10-inch diameter pipeline parallel to an existing six-inch diameter pipeline from Sinendet to Kisumu (Line 3) and is expected to enhance petroleum product availability in western Kenya and the export market (Uganda, Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Northern Tanzania).

KPC is currently undertaking a number of large scale energy infrastructure projects aimed at tapping growth opportunities in the regional oil and gas sector.The company is constructing the Mombasa-Nairobi Pipeline Replacement Project (Line 5) which is scheduled to be completed this year.

It is also establishing new state-of-the-art loading facilities in Eldoret and new tanks in Nairobi Terminal which will ensure provision of sufficient capacity for receiving higher volumes of products expected once the Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline is replaced.