By Nqobile Tshili
Energy and Power Development Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, has said there is no hurry for the country to install a second fuel pipeline from Beira as the existing one is not being fully utilised.
Although Government has hinted on plans to engage companies interested in setting up a second fuel pipeline connecting Zimbabwe and Beira, the minister said the merits of doing so were being assessed.
Zimbabwe uses the Feruka Oil Pipeline to receive around 90 percent of its fuel requirements from foreign suppliers.
Over the past few weeks, the country has been experiencing fuel shortages but the situation has started to normalise.
In an interview on Thursday, Dr Gumbo who was in Beira to assess the flow of the country’s fuel supplies said the existing pipeline was underutilised, adding that his visit to Beira was meant to broaden his understanding of the country’s fuel supplies as Beira’s biggest client.
“I’m here in Beira following up the pipeline and also to see the docking of the vessels on the sea and see how long it takes to do the pumping and so forth and inspect our tanks.
As you are aware about 80 percent of all the fuel that comes at Beira comes to Zimbabwe and 20 percent is for other areas,” he said.
“We are actually the people who do business with Beira. I’m here to make sure that we continue to get preferential treatment and there should be no delay and I’m following the pipeline from here since I came here yesterday (Wednesday). But tomorrow I will be at Feruka in Mutare and will be following the whole process up to Harare to see what happens and see where there are delays so that I know about them.”
Dr Gumbo said following up on the pipeline would assist Government in making an informed decision on whether there is any need to put up an additional pipeline. He said from his observations the existing pipeline was underutilised hence it needed to be augmented before Government considers constructing a second one.
“This will help us in deciding if there is any need for a second pipeline or an expansion of the existing pipeline. I’m very pleased with the familiarisation exercise that I got here and the use of the pipeline that we are actually making use for now,” said the minister.
“The decision has to be taken by Government but I will put my recommendations and I think that the pipeline is not being utilised to maximum capacity. It is used to about 75 percent capacity and as far as I’m concerned it might not be that necessary to add a second pipeline but to augment the one that is there.
Expand it from Beira to Feruka.”
He said Cabinet will, however, make final recommendations on the matter. Dr Gumbo also said fuel supplies should soon normalise in all parts of the country. The Chronicle