Development towards the construction of the much-anticipated Tshele Hills Oil Storage Facility in Kgatleng, which has long been on the cards, is underway. The Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security permanent secretary, Ellen Madisa said consultants are currently conducting a feasibility study to determine the best model with a likely chance of using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee last week, Madisa said the consultants who started the study in 2019 have completed the first report and are expected to complete the final one in the next two months.
“The consultants are still trying to establish if the project should be done through PPP model because the government once tried to run the project but failed after realising that the costs were too much,” Madisa said.
“Botswana Oil has been mandated to facilitate the consultancy including how the feasibility study is done and recommend where possible.” The 186 million-litre Tshele Hills oil storage project aims to increase the country’s strategic oil reserves from the current 18 days to 60 equivalent of the national consumption.
While the Kgatleng District project was initially financed through the National Petroleum Fund, the latter’s depletion partly by an alleged money-laundering scandal has sent authorities scrambling for funds to finalise the project.
In 2019, the government diverted P2.25 billion of the Botswana Power Corporation funds to the project, which seeks to boost the national strategic oil capacity.
Incepted in 2012, the project was expected to be complete by December 2020, but has since been extended. Meanwhile, Madisa said the government is working around the clock to expand the Francistown fuel storage facilities. She said other options are being explored to import fuel from neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Namibia. Currently, Botswana has been heavily reliant on importing fuel from South Africa, which has proved unsustainable, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.