The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is on the spot once again over its failure to install a leak detection system in the Sh61 billion Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline.
The Energy Committee of the National Assembly has summoned company managing director, Dr Macharia Irungu, to explain why the pipeline does not yet have the system in place two years after commissioning of the project.
Nakuru Town East David Gikaria, who chairs the team accused KPC management of doing little to guarantee the safety of the pipeline.
“KPC was required to install the system before having the pipeline commissioned. But because they rushed to run oil into the pipeline, here we are staring at huge bills to repair the line that cost Kenyans dearly,” Mr Gikaria said. The project, also known as Line five enhancement, is a 450 kilometre line that was meant to enhance pumping speed of oil as well as guarantee security from vandals and fires caused by illegal siphoning and leakages.
The leak detection device was to determine the speed of response and minimise damage to the environment.
However, failure by KPC to install the critical device, may subject Kenyans to unnecessary costs in case of sabotage.
Instances of oil leakages and illegal siphoning worth billions of shillings have already been reported on the new pipeline, with fears that Kenyans could be forced to pay the oil marketing companies billions of shillings for loss of their products.
“For the last three years, KPC has been including funds for the installation of the system in their budgets but nothing happens. This is intentional. They want to continue fleecing the poor Kenyans into covering the huge costs of spilt or illegally siphoned oil,” claimed Mr Gikaria.
Dr Irungu confirmed to the Nation that the leak detection device was yet to be installed and that the process of procuring the contractor has been planned for this financial year.
"The upgrade shall happen this budget year- 2021/22," Dr Irungu told Nation, confirming the fears raised by Mr Gikaraia of KPC's perennial budgeting for the project.
"We should be advertising in the next two weeks; God willing," the KPC boss added.
Mr Gikaria, whose committee approves the KPC budget every financial year, said in the last financial year, about Sh500 million was allocated towards financing the leak detection system.
Zakhem International Construction (ZIC) Limited, a Lebanese company, was hired by KPC to construct the line at Sh49 billion.
But variations, breach of agreement penalties and consultancy charges saw the pipeline cost in excess of Sh60 billion.
Fafi MP Abdikahim Osman, a member of the Energy committee, claimed at least 50 percent of the pipeline is leaking, meaning that huge volumes of oil are being lost.
The MP said failure to fix the leakage could expose the government to huge insurance claims by the oil marketing companies.