LPG plant set to ease cooking gas prices
The price of cooking gas may go down within the next month as a big capacity LPG depot opens in Mombasa next month, the Energy Regulatory Commission has said. The 8000 metric tons LPG storage facility will allow big stocks to be offloaded at once, something that has not been possible because of lack of storage space in the country.
ERC director-general Engineer Kaburu Mwirichia said this when he reiterated that there would be no price caps on cooking gas the way fuel pump prices are capped. With bigger cargoes arriving in the country, Mwirichia said, adequate supply and competition will settle the price of LPG which has seen fluctuations particularly when temporary shortages occur.
Currently, Kenya consumes about 100,000 MT of LPG annually but only about 2000MT is usually offloaded at a go. “We do not intend to have price caps on LPG. There is a full-blown depot being developed in Mombasa. It will enable us to import bigger capacities,” Mwirichia said when he briefed the press on the state of the energy sector in the country. “We are now going to get bigger ships (about 8000MT) rather than the current less than 2000MT.”
According to the Ministry of Energy, the per capita consumption of LPG in Kenya is 2.1Kg which is quite low compared to a country like Senegal with a per capita consumption of 12.2kg. Kenya currently imports LPG from Bahrain. However, recent huge discoveries in Tanzania and the coast of Mozambique may create a new source.
The country is also prospecting for gas and oil off the coast of Lamu where several companies including multinationals Total and Eni have acquired exploration blocks. The country's energy mix is dominated by woody biomass fuel, accounting for 68 per cent of the national energy consumption, with the balance being made up of petroleum fuels at about 22 per cent, electricity at nine per cent and coal at one per cent.
At the same time Mwirichia warned that ERC will continue to crack down on illegal LPG filling places and advised the public to follow due process. He added that a new Energy policy will likely be in place by the end of the year.