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Chissano unlocks stalled pipeline deal

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Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano flew into the country on Wednesday to unlock delays by Zimbabwean authorities in approving a
$1 billion fuel pipeline project linking Beira and Harare.

BY NDAMU SANDU

The project to construct a second fuel pipeline linking Mozambique and Zimbabwe has been on the cards for the past two years, but has failed to take off due to red tape in government.

Chissano met President Robert Mugabe, his deputies Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko and Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge.

Chissano told authorities that Zimbabwe was holding the project warning that it would lose out if delays persist, sources told NewsDay.

Chissano chairs Consolidated Oil and Gas Services (Cogs) of Mozambique — a joint venture between Mozambicans and Mining Oils and Gas Services (Mogs).

“Wednesday’s visit by former President Chissano was to apprise the Zimbabwe government on the seriousness with which Mozambique and he himself in his capacity as chairman of Cogs are keen to see this project take off,” a source said.

“Cogs have an option to go through Teteo to Lusaka then DRC leaving out Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has been dillydallying on this matter for more than two years hence President Chissano reiterated their desire to come through Zimbabwe as the country already has underground storage facilities which are grossly underutilised.”

Chissano was accompanied by executives from Mogs—a subsidiary of the cash-rich Royal Bafokeng.

Mogs in conjunction with Cogs has secured the right from Mozambique for the construction of a new pipeline.

The right includes the optional construction of a new pipeline from Beira to Mutare, which is the preferred option in conjunction with the proposed new Mutare to Harare pipeline.

It also has an option to construct a pipeline from Beira to Tete, which will then become the regional distribution hub. This option had jolted Zimbabwe into action and government had promised to expedite the process, sources said yesterday.

The pipeline project is seen as a low hanging fruit and is expected to take between 24 months to 30 months to complete.

The current pipeline can pump 150 million litres a month. However, it is carrying 120 million litres a month.

With industry at its peak, the country would require 200 million litres per month.

The new pipeline is expected to move 500 million litres per month.

It is understood that despite the Msasa storage facility having a capacity of 500 million litres, only a tenth was in store, meaning that the infrastructure was underutilised.

Undenge was unreachable for comment.

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