The 450km Nairobi-Mombasa petroleum pipeline, which was built in 1976, is set for rehabilitation after an audit revealed immense shortcomings that are compromising safety and performance.
The aging pipeline has in the past, experienced raptures, hence compromising on reliability of movement of petroleum products from Mombasa to Nairobi.
“The latest in-line inspection of the pipeline using the magnetic flux leakage technique shows the pipeline has suffered both internal and external metal loss defects that should be repaired in order to maintain the pipeline’s structural integrity for safe operation,” Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) said. KPC is seeking a contractor to carry out major repair works on the pipeline.
The audit reveals that, other than raptures, the 14-inch petroleum pipeline is experiencing massive corrosion in some sections, which has been causing partial blockages and weakening seams on the pipeline.
According to KPC, rehabilitation of the petroleum pipeline will involve repairing of Line 1 so as to restore reliability of the pipeline as well as ensure operational safety. The repairing process will be done in a careful manner to avoid any kind of disruptions in the current transportation of petroleum products from the Coastal region.
“The contractor shall plan his welding works to coincide with the availability of distillate product as per product schedule,” KPC said. The country is also joining Ethiopia, which is set to construct a new pipeline at the cost of US$ 1.4bn to connect Ethiopia-Djibouti. The pipeline construction has been given green light following signing of an agreement between the two countries earlier this year.
The Kenyan Government however plans to build a new pipeline which will complement and eventually replace the existing one, and recently awarded the tender to Lebanon’s company Zakhem International.