NAIROBI, The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has initiated an environmental assessment study to establish the extent of damage to the Nakuru-Kisumu oil pipeline (Line 6), which suffered a leak at Koru, Muhoroni, following the attempted siphoning of fuel from the pipeline by a rogue oil seller.

The study was launched following the completion of repairs to the pipeline on Saturday evening, with the KPC’s safety and environment team having already taken over the site for remedial action. Once the leak was detected, families who were in close proximity to the leak were immediately relocated to to enable KPC to undertake a clean-up exercise, the company said Thursday.

In order to further mitigate against any further risks, KPC said it had conducted public dialogue sessions with the local administrators, including area chiefs and the local community, to sensitize them on safety and security issues as far as petroleum products are concerned.

Under KPC’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, food and clean water has also been provided to affected families as investigations and environmental clean-up continue.

Even as the culprits are brought to book, KPC is working hand in hand with National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) accredited laboratories to expedite the clean-up and ensure that no further damage is done to the environment.

NEMA will also monitor KPC’s rehabilitation efforts to ensure that the area is reinstated to its original condition.

KPC was alerted about the leakage on Friday and teams were quickly mobilised from the western Kenya cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret to deal with the leak and secure the line. Upon arrival, the teams established that the leak was as a result of an illegal connection with a network of pipes leading to a petrol station labelled Hess Energy Kenya about 100 metres away.

Upon further investigations and working in collaboration with security agents, KPC was able to establish that an adjacent home and a petrol station were leased to facilitate the siphoning operations. The tenant had illegally connected siphoning equipment to the pipeline running underground piping through the house to storage tanks at the filling station.

The leakage was therefore as a result of sabotage and illegal connection to the line, with specialized siphoning equipment. KPC has already forwarded the matter to the investigative agencies while the devices used to siphon and transfer product are in police custody.

The company says it will continue to co-operate with the police and other authorities to bring all the culprits involved to book.