Zambia has begun building a 700-kilometer (435-mile) long pipeline to pump diesel fuel from neighbouring Tanzania with an initial investment of $300 million.
Zambian Energy Minister Peter Kapala said Sunday that the new pipeline will run alongside the current one but will be more modernised.
“In a few months’ time, the pipeline will start pumping diesel fuel into Zambia. Phase one of the pipeline will end in Mpika (District in northern Zambia), phase two in Ndola (in Copperbelt Province) and phase three in Solwezi (in northwestern Zambia),” Kapala told a live radio broadcast.
However, he did not provide any details for the second and third phases of the project.
Zambia and Tanzania already share the Tazama Pipeline, a 1,710-kilometre (1,063-mile) pipeline that transports raw material for refining from the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola, Zambia.
The pipeline has, however, suffered wear and tear due to its equipment being obsolete.
The two countries had in 2019 announced plans to construct a $1.5 billion pipeline to complement it.
The government in which Kapala is a minister came into office 10 months ago and has resumed talks over the project.
Kapala said the diesel pipeline, which will have more advanced specs than Tazama, will be key in the country’s long-term goal of stabilizing diesel supply and maintaining a favorable retail pump price.
Zambia’s current daily diesel consumption hovers around two million litres, with the main consumer being mines, and the country’s supply level has remained fairly stable despite the challenges of the war in Ukraine.
The southern African nation has however not been spared from the impact of high global oil prices with a liter of diesel on the local market now selling for just under $2.
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