The Nairobi County government has affirmed its commitment in construction of a centralized tanker parking and marshaling yard in the city, aimed at ensuring safety in handling of petroleum products.
This is under the Legal Notice No.9 of 2011, which gazettes the aforementioned area as a Protected Area.
Nairobi deputy governor Polycarp Igathe said the county government will bring the Kenya Railway on board, to cede ground for land in the vicinity for the construction of the project.
The petroleum tanker parking yard will also feature space for a well-equipped fire station and amenities including washrooms and catering hence accommodating the current informal business in the location.
Lack of a proper marshaling yard has posed a challenge in the city, with petroleum tankers parking in residential and high risk areas.
Speaking when he toured the location where oil and gas depots are located in Nairobi Industrial Area, Igathe who was flanked by Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) directors said the initiative will bring sanity in the petroleum sector.
"The provision of designated well secured petroleum tanker parking by the Nairobi County as required by the Energy Act 2006, will eliminate the unauthorized parking of tankers," Igathe said.
PIEA chairman Powell Maimba said the realization of the marshaling yard in close proximity with the Protected Area (Depots) will ease off tanker turnaround time, thereby improving fuel distribution and delivery.
"Most important it will significantly minimize the risk of the fuel depots remaining as very easy targets for criminal activities. Emergency response in the event of an incident will be more effective once the haphazard parking of tankers in this location is streamlined," Maimba said.
The deputy governor also committed to fully enforce the County by-laws as a means for sustenance of safety and security in the industrial area depots location and in Nairobi County as a whole.
The government has put illegal fuel depots and illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling plants on notice.
According to the State, the entities are a serious threat to the downstream oil sector and to Kenya's economy as a whole, because their existence perpetuates crime and erodes investor confidence hence stifling economic growth by slowing down employment and wealth creation .
Igathe challenged the petroleum industry to have a long term strategic view on the future sitting of depots during the petroleum master plan development process, bearing in mind that there is need to diversify and devolve fuel distribution centers.
This is in line with the country's infrastructure growth that is opening up other trading corridors including the Lamu Port-South Sudan -Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) project, and the ongoing Standard Gauge Railway network advancements.
Maimba reassured PIEA's commitment in supporting the government's efforts to enforce safety measures.
"PIEA recognizes that security is not a government only responsibility and indeed all sectors of the economy need to collaborate in security sustenance. We reiterate our commitment to partnering with the Nairobi county government in making Nairobi safer and secure," he said.