Gov’t fuel reserves in Jinja run dry

Gov't fuel reserves

View of Uganda National Oil Company (web photo)

Uganda’s oil reserves in Jinja have run out of fuel. Uganda National Oil Company’s (UNOC ) depot manager, Joel Nkangi has announced. This is amidst a crisis that has led to an escalation of fuel prices in recent weeks.

Pump prices have now increased to an average of shs 6,000 at stations across Kampala, while in some upcountry towns, a litre of petrol is sold at an average of shs 10,000.

The trend started with a standoff on the Uganda-Kenya borders in Busia and Malaba where truck drivers stationed their trucks in protest of a mandatory COVID-19 test by Ugandan authorities even for those with a negative PCR from Kenya.

Nkangi says that the reserves have a storage capacity of 30 million litres, against a monthly demand of between shs 200 and shs 230 million litres of fuel in the Country.

He added that all the fuel in the reserves could only contain the situation for a period of one week in case of a crisis.

He noted that the availability of fuel at the reserves depends on constant fuel supply within the country and any form of scarcity, automatically results in incomplete emptying of the fuel tanks, following the inadequate storage facilities at the depot.

Nkangi also says that oil companies absorb while replenishing the reserve tanks in the due course, which contributes to the stability of the fuel supply chain.

But with the current standoff, UNOC partners have since emptied all the reserves to meet their clients’ demands.

He further stressed that most of the fuel at the reserves is largely received via road trucks and the current backup of importing fuel through the railway line system, is inefficient to serve both the nationwide fuel demand and replenishing of the oil reserves.

Nkangi however, advises that, if at all water transport is well revamped, it can effectively serve as an alternative to address future fuel import crisis incidents, following the high-level carriage capacities of some water vessels that can ferry an estimate of 300 fuel wagons per trip.

The current fuel scarcity has contributed to a hike in fuel prices, with petrol costing a record shs 10,000 per litre in some parts of the country, which has now contributed to an increase in the prices of both goods and services.

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