HARARE, March 17 – The Zimbabwe government has put in place measures to ensure the country does not experience shortages of fuel even in the event of supply chain disruptions, says Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge.

He told students at the Zimbabwe Staff College here Monday that the development was also ideal to the centrality of energy provision as a pillar of the national economic blueprint, ZimAsset.

“We have asked private buyers to keep their own strategic stocks although they are yet to take it up,” he said. “Furthermore we have introduced the blending of petrol with locally produced and available ethanol,” Undenge said in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Tsitsi Muzenda.

Undenge said the holding of fuel in-bond in the country while awaiting payment of duty and keeping strategic reserves would also lead to the situation.

With more than 95 per cent of the fuel imports into the country coming through the pipeline from the Mozambican port of Beira to Msasa in Harare, Undenge said this could be a problem in the future, hence the need for precautionary measures.

“As the fuel demand for our economy and the region increases, the design capacity of the pipeline might become a supply bottleneck and we are exploring the possibility of building a second pipeline which should
make Zimbabwe a hub for fuel supplies to the region,” he said.

“We are importing between 125 million to 130 million litres of fuel products per month and the daily consumption of our economy is 2.6 million litres diesel and 1.4 million litres petrol.”

Some of the petroleum products imported are destined for regional destinations namely Zambia, Botswana and Malawi, he said.

With proper planning and taking advantage of its central location in the region, Zimbabwe could become a fuel hub even if it did not have any reserves of the product just like South Korea has done, he added.

The Zimbabwe government has since introduced a drag reducing agent into the pipeline since November 2013 increasing pumping capacity by 30 million litres per day and booster pumps are set be installed also,
leading to an increase by a further 100 million litres.