The crude oil that Zambia imports from the Middle East is often coming with foreign matters which have been damaging the facilities on the pipeline and at Indeni Petroleum Refinery, a technical report has shown.
The report submitted to Government by a team of petroleum experts recently indicated that some elements in the crude oil had contributed to the dilapidation of the processing facilities at Indeni Petroleum Refinery and Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) Pipelines in Ndola.
Mines, Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Charity Mwansa said the report showed that the crude oil from the Middle East was corroded and not ideal for the processing facilities in Zambia.
“A report submitted to Government has revealed that the intermittent shutdowns affecting Indeni were due to corroded oil imports,” she said.
She said that was why Indeni was subjected to intermittent shutdowns and the stretches of the Tazama pipeline were replaced repeatedly.
Ms Mwansa said the Government was thoroughly studying the report to determine what course of action could be taken to preserve the infrastructure at Indeni and Tazama.
“This has also proved to be the more reason why we are constantly replacing the pipeline through which fuel is transmitted between Tazama and Indeni,” Ms Mwansa said.
Among the options available; Zambia could resort to using ethanol fuel from Zimbabwe or already refined crude oil from Angola.
According to Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma, this could, however, only be done when the Government has come up with a pump price per drop for ethanol and that of refined petroleum from Angola.
In a related development, Ms Mwansa has said Indeni was expected to resume normal operations this weekend following a 30-day shutdown for routine maintenance works.
She said the Government was satisfied that maintenance works on the refinery were done within the stipulated period of time, during which Zambia had not experienced any fuel shortages.
The Government had secured more than 100 million litres of petroleum to sustain the national fuel reserve, while Indeni underwent routine maintenance works.
Zambia’s daily rate of fuel consumption is two million litres for diesel, one million litres of petrol and 80,000 litres of kerosene.
[Times of Zambia]