Ethiopia’s Petroleum Reserve Falls to 13 Days

By ZEKARIAS HADDUSH

Ethiopia’s petroleum reserve fell to a worrying 87,000 cubic metres, or only 13 days of supply, down from 130,000 cubic metres in 2005/06.

The plan of the government was to increase the capacity of depots from 279,800 cubic metres in 2005/06, which could cover two months of consumption at the time, to 588,000 cubic metres in 2009/10, which would cover three months of consumption at the current level. However, the capacity grew only to 369,000 cubic metres after the construction of two depots at Sululta and Kombolcha. But the government was unable to maintain the level that it had five years ago.

Petroleum_tanks
Petroleum tanks

“Petroleum stocking was not carried out because of budget constraints,” said Alemayehu Tegenu in a five-year report he presented to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Affairs Standing Committee of Parliament on June 15, 2010.

His ministry had seen no convincing reason to take money away from other developmental sectors it implements to use for petroleum stocking, Alemayehu claimed in defence of the shortfall.

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“We would rather use the money in other areas than store it as petroleum,” he said.

However, National Petroleum Depot Administration Director Higeamlak Hailu, expressed concern at the dwindling supply. It is up to the ministry and the depot administration to convince the coming Parliament to find the money to fill the depots, he told MPs.

During the last five years, his ministry’s budget demand for capital and recurrent expenditures was 82.9 billion Br, but only 44.5 billion Br was obtained, covering only 54pc of its demand, Alemayehu said in his report.

Ethiopia still seeks to find petroleum within its boarders. However, the Malaysian petroleum giant, Petronas, which had been exploring for petroleum in Gambella Regional State, quit after its efforts failed to bear fruit. The ministry is currently doing promotion to invite other companies to continue with the search. Even though the case is similar in the Ogaden Region of the Somali Regional State, there are indicators that there at least exists natural gas, although its commercial value is yet to be determined. The ministry is working closely with national defence forces to ensure the security of prospectors, according to Sinkinesh Ejigu, state minister for Mines and Energy.

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On the positive side, mineral investments have grown from 62 million Br to 12.7 billion Br over the past five years, but that has not translated into a proportional growth in revenue, Alemayehu reported. Annual revenue from the sector grew from 18 million to only 50 million Br. The plan was to increase gold exports over five years by 50pc from the 3,439kg exported in 2004/05. The achievement was only a 31pc increase to 4,500kg. The same was planned for Tantalum, but the achievement was 127pc, increasing from 92.7tn to 210tn.

source: Addis fortune

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