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Oil pipelines on the cards

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The Ministry of Energy has said it is considering putting up an oil pipeline from a yet to be determined port in one of Malawi’s neighbours into the country.

This, if it materialises, could help in cutting costs of ferrying fuel into Malawi.

The plan was unveiled when Energy Ministry officials presented a 10- year plan in line with aspirations in the Malawi 2063 development plan.

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According to the document, the government feels this might necessitate other projects such as refineries, hence the need for comprehensive feasibility studies.

Speaking in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ministry of Energy Public Relations Officer Saiti Banda could not, however, spell out clearly on the time which a feasibility study would be conducted.

“As of now, we cannot talk of the concrete plan in place until we have the feasibility study done and currently it is still at the planning phase and the actual date will depend on source of financing for the studies,” Banda said.

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Fuel importing consortium, the Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL), said the plan is welcome.

PIL General Manager Martin Msimuko said the move would help lessen the cost of transporting fuel into the country.

“Right now, we are at the mercy of neighboring countries and if they decide to close the borders then it will be difficult to have fuel so this may enhance fuel security for us because, at the moment, being landlocked is difficult,” Msimuko said.

Malawi is a landlocked country with rail and road as the only ways of fuel importation.

Government-owned National Oil Company has capacity to keep about 60 to 90 days of fuel for the country following construction of fuel reserves in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

The fuel reserves were built with a line of credit from India amounting to $26.4 million (about K19 billion).

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