President Paul Kagame, yesterday, inaugurated a fuel depot worth $22 million, located in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District, in the outskirts of Kigali.
The fully automated fuel depot, built by Societe Petroliere Ltd (SP), becomes the first fuel terminal in Rwanda, with a 22-million litres capacity. The facility will store 10 million litres of diesel, 10 million litres of essence and 2 million litres of jet fuel.
The facility, which sits on a 12-hectare piece of land, fulfills the requirement of a modernised and international fuel depot, comprised of a comprehensive fire fighting facility with water storage capacity of 1.5 million litres, loading and offloading gantries (which can handle 7 loading and three offloading trucks simultaneously), CCTV surveillance, a well-equipped laboratory for product quality management and parking capacity of over 100 long haul trucks.
The depot, financed by SP with extra financing from EcoBank, also increases the country’s fuel storage capacity from 31 million to 74 million (this also includes a new 21 million litres storage facility in Kabuye by a separate petroleum company).
“We celebrate the capacity gained in the petroleum sector, for this capacity can solve a number of issues,” said President Kagame, adding that, the depot comes at a “good time when the price of petrol is going down - an advantage to Rwanda that has no natural petroleum source”.
“The fuel depot virtually brings Rwanda close to the ports,” Kagame said.
According to Egide Gatera, the chairperson of SP Group, the facility will bring Rwanda’s fuel storage to a long-awaited ambition.
“The already existing fuel depots would serve the country for only two weeks, but the country’s objective is to have a fuel storage facility that would at least serve the country for three months; we still have a gap of one-and-a-half-months in terms of fuel reservoirs. It is therefore a call to all my investors to join in establishing investments that would solve the issues our country faces,” said Gatera.
According to Gatera, SP further plans to increase the storage capacity of the depot to reach 60 million litres within the next five years. At the same time, SP plans to expand its LPG storage capacity from 120MT to 1500MT.
Constructed through a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Societe Petroliere Ltd (SP), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), the fuel depot investment is in line with the government’s petroleum consumption forecast growth of 640,000m3/per annum in 2020 vis-à-vis the current 360,000m3/per annum.
The construction of the depot begun in June 2014 and was completed within 14 months — four months earlier than planned. The facility is said to have created over 150 employment opportunities, both formal and informal jobs during the course of its construction and upon completion.
A call on private sector to partner in development
Addressing the guests who attended the facility’s inauguration, most of whom were members of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation, President Kagame noted that the country’s development ambitions would stumble if the private sector does not tap into investment opportunities availed by the public sector.
Referring to SP petroleum depot, Kagame said, “All this has been made possible through the collaboration of the Private sector and the public service. This is indeed a testimony of good collaboration. We need such collaboration in other sectors.”
“The government does all it can to bring investors in Rwanda, as well as establishing various investment opportunities. Now, it is up to whoever is concerned to tap into the advantages availed for a far-reaching economic transformation,” he said.
“With a growing number of conferences held in Kigali, coupled with hotels, this means more international guests coming to Rwanda. We, therefore, need to find something that pleases them — having enough food is one of them,” he added.
Kagame also noted that the availability of fuel should encourage a shift from cutting of trees for fuel (charcoal), calling on people to move to gas cookers.
SP is a Rwandan company solely dealing in the importation and distribution of petroleum products, with 42 petrol stations spread across the country.
SP has three affiliates; namely SP Aviation, SP Tanzania Ltd and SP Kenya Ltd. Within Rwanda, it has an LPG filling and storage plant situated in Kigali.