The new Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline (line 5) is now complete and ready for commissioning in July this year,giving Kenya a competitive advantage over its peers as the top fuel distributor in the region.
Speaking during a tour of the project, Public Investment Committee Chairman Abdulswamad Shariff Nasir said the committee is satisfied with the project and looking forward to its commissioning.
"I want to announce to the country that in 10 days' time, product from Line 5 will be in Nairobi. This is a big achievement for the people of Kenya," Nasir said.
The US$476.6 million (Ksh48 billion) project build utilizing the latest world class engineering technology has seen the installation of four new pump stations in Changamwe, Maungu, Mtito Andei and Sultan Hamud and two booster pumps in Kipevu(Mombasa).
The state of the art installation has also been fitted with new firefighting systems along with other energy efficient equipment and pipeline monitoring technologies, which will introduce efficiency and safety in fuel supply logistics in Kenya and the East Africa region.
"We are aware that the project has experienced delays, to audit the cost of the delays we asked the Kenya National audit office to look into the project so that Kenyan's get value for money; but for now, it is good to appreciate that Kenya's second largest project has finally come to an end." the Mvita MP said.
According to Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Managing Director Joe Sang, the Line 5 pipeline project, which is also the country's second largest infrastructural undertaking, is a game changer for the country and will boost its regional competitiveness.
"Kenya had over time lost its competitive advantage and market share in the region due to the time taken to deliver products by road and the capacity of the old pipeline which kept breaking down. In effect, the project will also lower the cost of road maintenance by eliminating over 700 trucks from the road daily at maximum utilization," Sang said.
"This will enhance safety because pipeline transportation of fuel is the safest and most cost-effective way of transporting petroleum products the world over. For the consumer, it will result in lowering the cost of fuel due to the economies of scale derived from pipeline transportation." he added.
Line 5 is set to be operationalized following the completion of hydro testing, station mechanical, electrical and communication works. The line is currently being operationalized with fuel products having already been injected into the pipeline. So far the fuel products within the pipeline are in Sultan Hamud about 100 Kilometres from Nairobi.
KPC is in the process of replacing the existing Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline that has been in operation for 40 years whose flow rate is about 750,000 litres per hour and can therefore not meet national and regional demand for fuel.
A Vision 2030 flagship project, the construction of the 20 inch diameter 450 kilometre pipeline commenced in the year 2014.
Once operationalized, the pipeline will ensure sustained, reliable and efficient transportation of petroleum products in the region and meet demand in the next 30 years with an installed flow rate for phase one of one million litres per hour by end of this year, 1.9 million litres per hour for phase two in 2023 and 2.6 million litres per hour for phase three in 2044.
The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) has also termed the new pipeline as a game changer noting that it will enhance efficiency in fuel distribution, which comes with its higher flow rate.
The pipeline will also enhance safety and protect the environment since transportation of oil via a pipeline is the safest, fastest and most environmentally friendly means.