Cooking gas crisis continues

Normal supplies of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the Mozambican market will not resume until mid-November, according to a Tuesday press release from Imopetro, the sole importer of LPG and other petroleum products.

Shortages of cooking gas have been felt for more than a week, thus obliging many households that normally cook with gas to switch to firewood or charcoal, with damaging effects on the environment.

Imopetro has a contract for the supply of LPG with the South African company, Engen, valid until February 2012. But Engen has been unable to honour the contract because of a fire in its refinery in Durban.

The Imopetro release warns that the Engen refinery will only resume production on 30 November. Furthermore, the three other refineries in South Africa that make LPG have also reduced their production.

As a result, this week Imopetro only expects to import 200 tonnes of LPG – which is grossly insufficient for Mozambican demand. Normally Imopetro imports, by truck, around 80 tonnes of LPG per day, including Saturdays and Sundays.

Hopes that a ship from Malaysia could bring LPG to Maputo port have also been dashed. That plan has been abandoned because of “questions of operational safety” – Maputo port simply does not have the pipelines needed to handle LPG.

The ship will thus unload the LPG in Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, and it will then be trucked into Mozambique. Imopetro expects this gas to reach Mozambique between 10 and 15 November.

Imopetro promises that it will continue looking for additional supplies of gas from “alternative sources”.

Imopetro is a non-profit making company, formed by all the fuel distribution companies that operate in Mozambique, in order to achieve economies of scale in fuel imports.

Post published in: Africa News

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