September 19, 2007

Matola-Kendal pipeline ready by 2009 / Country in need of lawyers

A 400 kilometre long pipeline linking the southern Mozambican city of Matola and the South African city of Kendal is due to be completed by 2009. The purpose of this undertaking is to try and solve the problem of diesel and petrol supplies to the South African province of Gauteng (where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located). The port of Maputo, where the refined fuels would be unloaded, is considerably nearer Gauteng than any South African port.
The pipeline will cost 600 million US dollars, of which 243 million are to be invested in the construction of 64 kilometres on the Mozambican side, between the Matola fuel terminal and the South African city of Nelspruit, and the remaining amount to extend the pipeline to Kendal. The pipeline will be built by Petroline, a company in which the main shareholder, with 40 per cent of the shares, is the Mozambican state fuel company Petromoc. The South African companies Gigajoule, and Woesa, hold 15 and 20 per cent respectively, while the remaining 25 per cent belongs to a group of Mozambican investors, who have formed the Companhia de Desenvolvimento de Petroleo Mocambique (Mozambique Oil Development Company). The pipeline will be 30 centimetres in diameter and will have the capacity to transport five million tonnes of fuel a year.
Petroline spokesperson Eugenio Silva said that the pipeline and the accompanying facilities will be able to satisfy much of South Africa's fuel demand. "These imports should also relieve the pressure on the handling of liquid fuels in South African ports, and contribute to the import of fuels to Mozambique and other neighbouring countries. The undertaking will offer an opportunity for cooperation and regional integration between Mozambique and South Africa", he said. For his part, a consultant for Impacto, the Mozambican company that won the contract for carrying out the Environmental Impact Study, Jose Jeronimo, said "We are still at an initial stage, because this is a project that we believe will have many socio-economic implications, because it will interfere with many installations - houses, companies, roads, among others - in Matola."
In the meantime it has been revealed that Mozambique has just 410 lawyers, a number described as insufficient to cater for the legal requirements of the 20 million inhabitants of the country. In Mozambique, particularly in the rural areas, most people have no access to legal assistance, largely because of the chronic shortage of lawyers, most of whom are concentrated in the major cities. A further problem for rural Mozambicans is that most of them have no money to pay the fees charged by lawyers. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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