Lilongwe, National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) says it has started receiving fuel for storage in its strategic fuel reserve tanks at Kanengo depot in Lilongwe even though the tanks haven’t yet been commissioned.
Nocma’s spokesperson Telephorus Chigwenembe told Mana in an interview that the first load of fuel arrived in the country on May 21, 2017 via Dar es Salaam.
Asked why the company started receiving fuel before official commissioning, Chigwenembe said there was nothing wrong having stocks before the tanks are officially inaugurated saying that what matters most is to have reserve stocks for the country.
We have so far received 2.2 million litres of fuel (as of Thursday) for our reserve tanks in Kanengo and we are yet to start receiving some stocks for Blantyre and Mzuzu depots because in our plan Lilongwe depot was earmarked to be the first to become operational, followed by Blantyre then Mzuzu. Yes the reserves have not yet been inaugurated but these two commissioning and arrival of fuel are not dependent on each other.
We can receive and stock fuel even before inauguration as long as the storage facilities are certified. The most important thing is to stock the fuel in reserves to ensure security of supply in the country, he said.
In May 2016, Nocma started receiving fuel to be used in testing the country’s 60 million litre Strategic Fuel Reserves constructed by the government in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu which was meant to provide the country with more than two months of fuel cover.
The testing of the tanks last year followed the completion of the installation of offloading meters that are used in determining quantities of fuel received at the country’s depots.
Commenting on the recent government’s decision of 50-50 split of fuel importation by Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) and Nocma, Chigwenembe said the company was happy with it as it will help strengthen the country’s capacity to be fuel secure.
He commended the players that were involved in the negotiations that helped the two parties to reach to the agreement of 50-50 fuel importation.
PIL used import 70 percent of the fuel into the country while Nocma imported the rest.
Meanwhile, Nocma has completed the process of upgrading roads to the fuel reserves in all its three sites in the country for easy access to the facilities.
Lilongwe and Blantyre strategic fuel reserve tanks have a holding capacity of 25 million litres each and 10 million litres holding capacity for Mzuzu tanks.
Malawi receives her imported fuel through Beira and Nacala in Mozambique and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Registered in 2010, NOCMA’s mandate is to manage the country’s Strategic Fuel Reserve facilities, promote competition in the oil and gas industry and to promote oil and gas exploration activities in order to ensure stability and security of supply of liquid fuel and gas products.
Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA