A meeting between energy ministry officials and an inter-ministerial committee to discuss the fate of the idle Mombasa refinery scheduled to take place this week has been postponed.
According to petroleum principal secretary Andrew Kamau, some members of the committee accompanied the President to Israel, hence the cancellation.
“Part of the team was here (ministry offices) this morning but we have moved the meeting to sometime next week as some members have travelled with the President to Israel,” said Mr Kamau in a telephone interview with the Nation Wednesday.
The committee is expected to present its final report on the refinery to the energy secretary Charles Keter and his team at the planned meeting, detailing the best model to revive the refinery.
It was constituted in July last year, comprising of members from various ministries including the National Treasury and energy as well as the office of the Attorney General.
The taskforce is charged with pursuing various models that the government can use to revive the refinery which has remained idle for close to three years.
Last Wednesday, Mr Keter told Nation the government “is considering converting the refinery into an oil storage facility ahead of commencement of production of the first oil”.
The government had set September as the date it would start pumping crude from the Lokichar oil fields but this has been moved to early next year.
About 2,000 barrels of crude oil per day are targeted at the initial stage, progressing to 10,000 barrels per day. The oil will be moved through trucks and rail wagons to the port of Mombasa for export.
Industry analysts however maintain that Kenya cannot competitively produce oil at the prevailing crude prices, averaging at $30 a barrel, and whose future trend remains unknown.
Early this month, Tullow Oil which together with Africa Oil Corporation are behind most crude discoveries in the country said that it cannot produce oil at a price below $25 a barrel.
Operations at the Mombasa refinery were terminated in September 2013 following a disagreement between the government and Essar Energy of India who owned the facility on an equal basis.
This has seen the country purely rely on imported refined petroleum products with the refining cost being carried on to consumers.
Two years ago, the government hinted that the refinery would be converted into a storage terminal for fuel products to boost the current reserve whose capacity can only last the country seven days.