State owned, National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) says it awaits a set of guidelines, which are being formulated, to direct it on fuel selling method from its reserves.
Nocma spokesperson, Telephorus Chigwenembe, said in an interview the “selling guidelines” are being worked on by different players in the energy sector.
This comes as the company is yet to commission 25 million litres of fuel reserves in Lilongwe.
The firm is also yet to finalise testing of its Mzuzu and Blantyre depots.
Last year, Nocma announced that it will be commissioning the Lilongwe fuel reserves by December 2016. However, it was delayed due to what it rated as logistical issues.
According to Chigwenembe, by the time the guidelines formulation process will be completed, all the three depots would also be operational.
“… by the time the guidelines are finalised, we will have had enough fuel at all the depots to satisfy demand,” said Chigwenembe.
Initially, only Lilongwe depot was receiving fuel after completion of testing, but by end last month, Nocma had started receiving fuel at its Blantyre depot as well.
Chigwenembe said Nocma will also shortly start offloading fuel at Mzuzu depot, as it had to put in place oil-water separators (safety features) in the depot to prevent spilt fuel from getting out of the facility to the community.
He further said Nocma is now waiting for the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) to assess the safety features before it issued with a storage license for the Mzuzu depot.
“This means in no time, all the strategic fuel reserves will have fuel in the tanks,” Chigwenembe said.
The reserves were constructed by the Malawi Government with a loan facility worth $ 26 million (approximately K 19 billion) from the Indian Government.
In 2011, the Malawi economy was almost on its knees following a serious fuel crisis which necessitated Nocma’s formation.
The idea to construct the reserves has been touted by some commentators as key to landlocked Malawi to bring a sense of national security as regards oil and gas availability in times of such a crisis.
However, controversy erupted over proposals to shift the task of bulk fuel importation from the private consortium of Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) to Nocma.