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Zambia has no proven crude oil reserves – Nkhuwa

ENERGY minister Matthew Nkhuwa says Zambia’s daily diesel and petrol consumption stands at 2.9 million litres and 1.3 litres, respectively.

Nkhuwa says although renewable energy sources had rapidly advanced compared to other fuels, Zambia’s reliance on fossil fuels like oil and gas still remained key driver of economic development.

The minister indicated that Zambia had no known proven reserves of crude oil, “although exploration is underway” and that the country now depended entirely on importation of petroleum products in order to satisfy fuel requirements of its economy.

Nkhuwa was speaking when he officially opened a three-day oil and gas week at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday.

The oil and gas week is themed creating awareness for Zambia’s oil and gas industry for sustainable economic development and growth.

He said the importation of petroleum products into Zambia was undertaken in two modes – commingled feedstock through the TAZAMA pipeline for refining at Indeni Refinery in Ndola and importation of finished products through the road tankers and rail wagons.

“Given this situation, the government’s intention, as spelt out in the energy policy, is to ensure adequate and affordable supply of petroleum products at competitive and fair prices with the overall goal of reducing importation costs extensively,” Nkhuwa said.

He said the national daily consumption of diesel stands at 2.9 million litres while petrol is at 1.3 litres.

“Consumption of diesel is mainly dominated by the retail sector at 35.7 per cent followed by the mining and non-mining sector at 35.3 per cent and others at 27.2 per cent, respectively,” he revealed.

“In terms of consumption of petrol, retail still dominates at 95.1 per cent in comparison to mining and non-mining sectors at 0.2 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Approximately, 443, 196 kilogrammes of heavy fuel oil is consumed per day in production of electricity by Ndola Energy Company Limited where we produce 105 mega watts.”

Nkhuwa pointed out that some of the challenges the petroleum sector had encountered include the fact that pricing of petroleum products in Zambia continued to be influenced by international oil prices and the exchange rate of the kwacha to the Unites States dollar.

Adulteration of petroleum products is the other challenge the minister pointed at.

“I’m told we are doing with about 22 per cent of smuggled fuel. So, we are going to intensify on the patrols to make sure that we reduce that number [and] if possible, bring it down to zero,” noted Nkhuwa.

Earlier, energy permanent sectary Brigadier General Emeldah Chola said the petroleum sector had for a long time been subjected to a lot of speculations.

“This has resulted in a lot of misinformation to the public. Therefore, in order to ensure that information flow to the public, this conference is imperative because it has never been done before and will provide a networking platform for players in the sector,” noted Brig Gen Chola.

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