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The Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise (EPSE) targets to import three million metric tons of petroleum in the coming fiscal year.
The enterprise, formed with a merger between the Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise and the National Petroleum Depot Administration in 2012, disclosed that on average, oil demand is growing by 10 percent annually.
Tadesse Hailemariam, CEO of EPSE, told Capital that in order to address the rising demand, the enterprise, the sole petroleum importer, will increase its import by 7.14 percent in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
He said that EPSE has targeted to import 3 million metric tons of oil in the 2015/16 fiscal year, up from 2.8 metric tons in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
Tadesse noted that the enterprise has imported 59 billion birr worth of oil in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The enterprise has the responsibility to buy oil from international market. Sudan is the sole supplier of petrol fuel, following an agreement between the two countries.
EPSE has also proposed to build its own gas stations throughout the country. With a plan to build up to 160 gas stations throughout the country, EPSE would be moving away from its traditional supply chain involving private gas dealers.
The country also plans to construct an oil pipeline from the port of Djibouti to Awash, in order to import oil from Djibouti ports. While Ethiopia spends a large amount of hard currency for oil imports, a considerable amount of it is lost illegally across borders.
According to Amakele Yemam, public relations head of the Ministry of Trade, oil is illegally exported from the country.
He said that government and private sector stakeholders formed a command post to control contraband activity in the 2013/14 fiscal year. He said that the command post continues to strictly monitor contraband oil activity.
He said that petroleum contraband is especially prevalent in western and southern parts of Ethiopia. Illegal trade via Gambela to bordering South Sudanese towns has reportedly expanded since conflicts arose in the newly born oil-rich country.
Amakele said that the problem also exists along the Kenyan border in Moyale. “However, we are now cracking down on the illegal activities,” he explained.
Contraband traders are allegedly supplying oil to South Sudan at a higher price, especially in rebel-controlled areas and regions outside the control of the Juba government.