Sunday 8 August 2010
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 7, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — Sudan Petroleum Corporation (Sudapet), the state-owned oil producing giant, heads toward becoming Ethiopia’s only Benzene supplier, ending the aged-long fuel imports of the country mainly from the Middle East.
The Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise said today that the Sudanese oil company will begin supplying 100 percent of Ethiopia’s annual benzene consumption as of next month.
An agreement signed five years ago between Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise, a state owned and sole importer of fuel, and Sudan Petrolatum, now Ethiopia’s sole benzine supplier, was to expire this year.
However, Earlier this year, a new benzene supplying agreement was signed between governments of Ethiopia and Sudan, extending their cooperation for another year.
The Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise has planned to import 2,176,188 tonnes of fuel including benzene with projected budget of 1.42 billion USD for the current fiscal year. The volume of the fuel projected to be imported this year exceeds that of last year by 500,000 tonnes.
In the past five years, benzene supplies from Sudan had accounted lessthan 10% of Ethiopia’s annual consumption. Currently, Sudan supplys 82 percent of Ethiopia’s annual benzene consumption
The Horn of Africa country had been spending massive costs for inspection and vessel prices to import Fuel all the way from the Middle East. This makes the benzene that comes from Sudan significantly cheaper.
According to Ethiopia petroleum enterprise officials, Ethiopia saves millions of dollars every year by importing from neighboring Sudan instead of imports of Middle East and other destinations abroad via the port of Djibouti.
Ethiopia spends over 50 % of its total export earnings to meet nation’s fuel demand and Sudan has now become the major source for the fact that it is only next door.
In return, the vast country of Sudan imports agricultural products and livestock from Ethiopia. It actually is one of the biggest importing countries of Ethiopian products.