Kenya and Uganda resolve oil import row, Uganda says

NAIROBI (Reuters) -Kenya will allow landlocked Uganda’s state oil firm to import petroleum products through its port of Mombasa, Uganda’s energy ministry confirmed on Thursday, to end a row between the two neighbours.

Uganda has been seeking alternative ways of importing petroleum products, including through a Tanzanian port, after its oil retailers for decades received their cargo through affiliated firms in Kenya.

Solomon Muyita, spokesperson for Uganda’s ministry of energy and minerals, said the first shipment under the new system was expected in May.

“Kenya has agreed to give us a licence, UNOC (Uganda National Oil Company) is now free to import through Mombasa,” he said.

The Business Daily newspaper, which first reported the news, quoted Kenyan Energy Minister Davis Chirchir as saying UNOC would use the Kenya Pipeline Company to move the products, meaning that Kenya would still benefit from the arrangement.

Uganda imported $1.6 billion worth of petroleum products in 2022, mostly originating from the Gulf. Some 90% of the products are imported through Kenya.

It announced in November that it planned to hand over exclusive rights to supply all petroleum products to a unit of the global energy trader Vitol, which would then supply UNOC.

Using Kenyan firms to import oil had “exposed Uganda to occasional supply vulnerabilities” where Ugandan retail companies were considered secondary whenever there were supply disruptions affecting retail prices, the government said at the time.

Kenyan President William Ruto and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni met in Uganda last month and agreed to resolve the feud, Kenyan media outlets reported.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri and Elias Biryabarema; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Michael Perry and Kevin Liffey)


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