Minister of natural resources, energy and mining Bright Msaka says the strategic fuel reserve tanks are ready for opening.
Speaking when he toured Kanengo reserve tanks in Lilongwe, Msaka said the area now has everything it takes to be called strategic fuel reserve tanks.
“I am excited that finally we have tanks, premises, equipment and everything that is needed to operate a strategic fuel reserve. My coming here was to confirm if we are ready so that I request the President to come and open this facility,” said Msaka.
According to the minister, Malawi has had no any significant fuel reserve, a development he said brings panic to the nation whenever there is fuel shortage.
“The moment you hear that there is fuel shortage, everybody rushes to the filling station to fill their cars and that very same day the fuel stations are empty. We are now going to start having 60 days reserve of fuel in this country and therefore whatever may happen anywhere, we have a buffer to depend upon until we find a solution,” he said.
The Lilongwe and Blantyre depots have a holding capacity of 25 million litres each, while Mzuzu depot has a holding capacity of 10 million litres.
Msaka said the official opening may start with Lilongwe depot and then Blantyre and Mzuzu depots.
Concurring with Msaka, Chief Executive Officer for National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), Robert Mdeza said the company has finalized everything after going through various processes like going to MERA and meeting the technical teams.
He said the company will not meet any challenges once the tanks are open since the place has backup power, water and required personnel to operate the facility.
NOCMA has since finalized the process of upgrading the roads to the three fuel reserve tank areas for easy access to the facilities according to Mdeza.
Mdeza told reporters that the company is currently doing final touches on the railway line to the area which they will also be using to ferry fuel from outside countries.
NOCMA was registered on December 14, 2010 under the companies Act of 1984 with a mandate to manage the country’s strategic fuel reserve facilities, promote competition in the oil and gas industry and to promote oil and gas exploration activities in order to ensure stability and security of supply of liquid fuel and gas products.