Government has been urged to drive out illegal settlers who have settled near the Feruka oil pipeline near the town of Marondera. The pipeline runs from Beira in Mozambique to Feruka Refinery plant in Mutare then to the Msasa depot in Harare.
The pipeline is being managed by Petrol Zimbabwe on behalf of Energy and Power Development ministry. Petrol Zim general manager Catherine Katsande told a government delegation last week during a tour of the plant that they were facing challenges with illegal setters who had settled along the pipeline near Marondera.
She urged government to remove them urgently as they were a threat to the operation of the pipeline, which carries explosive material. “It’s dangerous – people should not stay within 25 metres of the servitudes on either side of the pipeline,” said Katsande. The Minister of State for Manicaland, Mandi Chimene, pledged to tackle the issue.
Feruka Refinery Plant, which was constructed way back in 1965, now operates as a storage facility only. Currently, Zimbabwe pumps five million litres of fuel a day from Beira, Mozambique but the old refinery has the capacity to handle one million litres.
“We need a new refinery because this one is outdated. Technology has changed and the kind of crude oil we receive today is totally different from what used to be produced back then,” said Katsande. A new plant will need close to Euro22 million.
National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) depot manager Charles Mhizha said the Feruka depot was pumping four million litres a day and had 26 operational tanks. Energy minister Samuel Undenge said government had plans to engage foreign investors to construct a new state-of-the-art refinery.