Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd will next month commission a $17 million power generating facility to supply it with electricity.
The move is intended to guard against disruptions at the crude oil processing plant which currently depends on the national grid for its supply.
KPRL’s chief executive Brij Bansal, said the 9.2 MW power plant will enhance production efficiency and lower maintenance costs.
The refinery experiences on average 45 power interruptions annually, including dips and complete power failures resulting in lower productivity, higher maintenance costs and unsafe operating conditions for equipment.
KPRL was previously a toll plant charging marketers a fee for processing crude oil imported jointly by the industry under an open tender system. But from July 1, it became a merchant plant importing its own crude and selling products to marketing firms.
The plan to install a power plant is in tandem with an investment strategy focusing on product specification, environmental regulation, water supply and electricity generation aimed at modernising the refinery in line with global trends.
The modernisation project will include the installation of a coal fired 50 MW power plant and a desalination plant, which will make the refinery self-sufficient in meeting its power and water requirements.
“With the recent discoveries of oil, first in Uganda and most recently in Kenya, the relevance of KPRL as a refining hub has become even more apparent,” said Mr Bansal.
He said upgrading will enable the oil refinery — the only one of its kind in East Africa, increase crude oil processing from the current 1.6 million metric tonnes to about 4 million metric tonnes per annum.