By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 30, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Ethiopian Petroleum Supplier Enterprise (EPSE) said on Saturday that the nation has imported over 1 million metric tonnes of petroleum from neighbouring Sudan via the port of Djibouti.
Officials said the stated fuel amount was imported at a cost $1.12 billion over the past six months.
A similar amount of petroleum is expected to be imported over the next six months to meet the growing demand for energy in one of Africa’s emerging and fastest growing economies.
The fuel imported during first half of the Ethiopian fiscal year was a rise of 21% in comparison to the same period last year.
According to EPSE’s spokesperson, Alemayehu Tsegaye, the imported 1,091,823 metric tonnes of fuel surpasses the initial planned target of 1,093, 073 metric tonnes.
Ethiopia imports up to 85% of its annual oil consumption from neighbouring Sudan, largely due to its geographic proximity.
The Horn of Africa nation saves at least $10 million in transit related costs per year by using Sudanese oil sources rather than importing from markets further afield, such as the Middle East.
During the stated period of the budget year, Ethiopia has also imported over 125,000 metric tonnes of coal and spent over $20 million on maintaining sustainable energy supplies for manufacturing and industry.
Over 50% of Ethiopia’s imports are to meet the nation’s fuel demand.
As Ethiopia and Sudan link their power grids, the two East African countries are planning to offset the revenues earned from Ethiopia’s sale of hydropower processed electricity to Sudan with the equivalent expenditure on Sudanese fuel.
Under Ethiopia’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) launched two-and-a-half years ago, the government is spending billions of US dollars on the construction of several power plants, including the Ethiopian Great Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, which will be Africa’s largest once complete.
Ethiopia’s electricity generation capacity is set to increase to 10,000 MW by 2015 up from the current level of about 3,000 MW once the power projects are complete, making the country a regional power hub.
Ethiopia hopes that power exports can provide a crucial bridge to its plans to develop the country’s economy.