By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
The African Refiners & Distributors Association, ARDA, and other global players in the energy sector have called for improved investment in petroleum products storage and distribution infrastructure across the African continent.
The Experts warned that failure to invest in modern infrastructure could hamper Africa’s attempt to transition to cleaner energy sources as part of measures geared at meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mitigating deforestation.
The experts spoke at an online workshop organised by ARDA, aimed at delivering strategies for coordinating Storage and Distribution, S&D, investments across the continent to support the projected increase in the continent’s future petroleum products demand.
Speaking at the virtual workshop, the Executive Secretary of ARDA, Anibor Kragha stressed that African leaders must develop a coordinated, energy transition road map that would result in investments in critical S&D infrastructure (terminals, pipelines, rail, ports, etc.) needed to deliver petroleum products across Africa over the next two decades.
According to him, “It is imperative that key decision-makers across the continent develop a robust energy transition roadmap that fully incorporates storage and distribution requirements needed to support Africa’s projected increased demand for petroleum products.”
Kragha had earlier disclosed that “The African Union Commission and ARDA recently assessed investments needed to upgrade African refineries to produce cleaner fuels.”
He explained that “a similar study needs to be conducted to determine the corresponding storage and distribution investments needed to transport the cleaner fuels efficiently and safely across Africa.”
The refiners and distributors also discussed key considerations for regional, multi-country pipeline initiatives in West and Southern Africa for pipelines and the importance of reducing shipping costs and congestion at major African deepwater ports, given that product imports still play a role in the near term.
On his part, Mr. Feiko Jager of Riverlake, a global leader in ports optimization projects, said: “By ensuring a minimum port draft of 14 metres which enables Medium Range tankers to discharge directly, African ports can save up to $15 per ton of imported products. Additional cost savings will be gained from a reduction in port congestion and demurrage.”
Others at the event were: Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Rainoil Limited (Nigeria), SENSTOCK (Senegal), SONABHY (Burkina Faso), HMT Tanks, and Alma Group.
They also discussed oil and LPG terminal investments in Burkina Faso and Nigeria, digitalization of storage tanks and loading trucks in Senegal, and KPC’s strategy for expanding its assets and operations across the Great Lakes area (Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda) amongst other relevant topics.