BY KALEYESUS BEKELE | THE REPORTER
Following the landmark peace declaration between Ethiopia and Eritrea the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise (EPSE) is looking at the Port of Assab for fuel import.
Reliable sources told The Reporter that EPSE is planning to import some amount of the country’s fuel import through the Port of Assab as of 2019.
Sources said a team of experts drawn from the enterprise, the Ethiopian Roads Authority, the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Roads Authority, and the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise are assessing the port facilities.
The national committee will travel to Assab next week to make assessment.
“We will look at the berth, fuel tanker and unloading facility at the port. If things look good EPSE may start importing fuel via the Port of Assab as of January 2019,” sources told The Reporter.
So far EPSE has been using the Port of Djibouti to import 95 percent its fuel purchase. The Horizon Djibouti Petroleum Terminal provides storage facility to the enterprise. However, the Horizon Terminal is not expanding the storage facility to cope up with the growing fuel import by Ethiopia. All the military bases in Djibouti also use the same facility. Hence the terminal is unable to meet the growing demand.
“If the Port of Assab fuel storage and unloading facility is in good condition EPSE may import up to 30 percent of the total fuel import via Assab in 2019. This will be decided after the field visit,” sources said.
“Djibouti Fuel Terminal is still intact and we will keep using the Horizon terminal but if we can import some amount of our fuel via Assab we can relieve the congestion at Horizon Terminal,” they added.
The Djibouti Horizon Fuel terminal tank farm has a total of 31 tanks with a storage capacity of 300,000cu.m of petroleum products. The terminal has various tanks for gasoline (benzene), gas oil (diesel), kerosene and jet fuel. DHT Company has allocated half of the tank farm more than 150,000cu.m of petroleum storage capacity for Ethiopia. EPSE uses the facility to store 72,000cu.m of diesel, 70,000cu.m jet fuel, gasoline 10,000cu.m and 10,000cum fuel oil.
Ethiopian fuel import has been growing at a rate of 10 percent every year and reached three million metric tons valued at three billion dollars. The country’s daily average consumption is diesel 80,000 cu. M (8 million liter), benzene (gasoline) 1,600cu.m (1.6 million liter), jet fuel 2,500cu.m (2.5 million liter). EPSE pays two million dollars for Horizon Terminal for the storage facility.
EPSE estimates that the country would need 2,780,000 metric tons of gasoil, 840,000 metric tons of jet fuel, 494,000 metric tons of gasoline and 83,000 metric tons of fuel oil in 2019. The country’s total fuel demand in 2019 is estimated at 4,197,000 metric tons valued at 2.8-3 billion dollars.
EPSE will float a fuel procurement tender end of this month that will cover 2019 petroleum demand of the country. Sources told The Reporter that before putting up the fuel tender the enterprise should pass a decision on the use of the Assab port.
“Because the bidders should know which port they would use to deliver the petroleum products,” they added.