Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday inaugurated a new pumping station and pipeline in the port of Maputo, which will allow cooking gas (LPG) to be pumped directly from ships.
The two kilometre long pipeline is owned by the state fuel company, Petromoc, and should end the country’s dependence on South Africa for its supplies of LPG.
The pipeline is part of a project that includes the construction of a deposit to store reserves of cooking gas, which should be concluded by the end of next year.
According to a report in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, a ship carrying LPG is currently anchored in the port. This is the first time a ship has brought LPG to Mozambique since the country’s independence in 1975.
Energy Minister Salvador Namburete told reporters that, apart from ending the dependence on South African suppliers of gas, the pipeline has the advantage that import costs will fall. It is cheaper to import gas by ship than by road or rail.
“Unfortunately, the price of gas on the world market is high”, said Namburete. “But even so, it is cheaper to bring the gas by sea rather than overland”.
The dangers of relying on South African supplies were shown in late 2011, when the country experienced a severe shortage of cooking gas. The sole importer of petroleum products, Imopetro, had a contract with the South African company Engen – but a fire at the Engen refinery in Durban meant that it was unable to honour the contract. Five South African refineries produce LPG – but three of them happened to be paralysed at the same time.
Normally, Imopetro imports around 80 tonnes of LPG a day, mostly by road. Since this fuel is in constant demand by households, hotels and restaurants, any interruption in supply is felt almost immediately.