ZAMBIA faces a crippling shortage of fuel and other petroleum products as Indeni Petroleum Refinery has run out of crude oil feed stock and was yesterday expected to shut down operations.
Red tape seems to be at the centre of this potentially destructive disruption in the supply of the economy’s lifeblood as the ship carrying the cargo is just ‘idling’ at Dar es Salaam port awaiting clearance to offload its precious cargo.
The shutdown of the country’s only oil refinery has been attributed to inadequate stock feed from Tazama pipeline, which supplies the crude from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the plant in Ndola.
Inside sources said in Ndola yesterday that the feed stock has run out and the refinery plant has since Friday failed to produce fuel.
“We have run out of the crude oil feed stock and we are today (yesterday) expected to shut down the plant until we start receiving the crude oil feed stock from Tanzania,” one source said.
Indeni managing director Maybin Noole said Indeni does not want to alarm the nation over the running out of crude oil feed stock and the main shutdown of operations.
“Yes, we are shutting down the plant but can I also know the source of the information before I give you other information. Let us follow procedure, by you first sending me a press query,” Mr Noole said.
He said the refinery is a sensitive plant and any shortage of crude oil feed stock should be handled carefully.
It is feared that the country may experience a shortage of fuel during the time that Indeni is unable to receive the crude oil feed stock.
The source said the ship laden with the crude oil for Zambia docked in Dar es Salaam last week, but a letter of credit to allow the off-loading and pumping of the feed stock into Tazama pipeline is not yet ready.
Start-up of the machinery at Indeni takes a full week before resuming production
[Zambia Daily Mail]