Kenya is to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import storage facility in the coastal city of Mombasa as part of an elaborate LPG masterplan that will also include the establishment of at least five storage facilities in various parts of the country to ensure easy access and affordability.
State-owned Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) MD Joe Sang says $66.2-million has been set aside in the current financial year’s Budget for the 15 000 t facility, which will be adjacent to Kenya Petroleum Refinery Limited.
“Currently, the country lacks a common user import terminal under the control of government for cooking gas, since there are no government-controlled storage facilities for LPG. That is why it is important that we put up an LPG bottling and storage plant,” says Sang.
He adds that the terminal will be linked to the standard-gauge railway that is gearing up for commissioning in June.
Construction of the import storage terminal and associated facilities is part of efforts by the Kenya government to boost the use of cooking gas, which is cleaner and more convenient than kerosene, charcoal or firewood.
Statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that about 87% of Kenyans depend on kerosene, charcoal or firewood for cooking.
In the 2016/17 Finance Bill, the Kenya government removed the 16% value-added tax it had imposed on LPG, which resulted in a drastic reduction in retail prices, boosting consumption.
According to the KNBS, LPG consumption in Kenya has surged from an average 5 000 t in June 2015 to about 17 000 t in August last year.
However, LPG consumption in Kenya is still lower than in other African countries.
On average, Kenya’s LPG consumption per capita stands at 3 kg/y, compared with 30 kg/y in South Africa and 25 kg/y in Nigeria. Kenya hopes to increase per capita consumption to 15 kg/t, which will be in line with consumption in other middle-income countries.
The common user terminal is also expected to eliminate the rising problem of illegal cylinder refilling, whcih continues to put the lives of consumers at risk.