In the pipeline

18 06 2009

Fuel is short again; specifically diesel.

The vast majority of Zimbabwe’s fuel requirements are imported by the state controlled NOCZIM (National Oil Company of Zimbabwe) whose incompetence/corruption is breathtaking. The fuel comes via pipeline from the Mozambican port of Beira (pronounced Bay-rah) some 460km away. I am not sure of the diameter of the pipeline but it must be at least 50cm or more. Whatever, there’s a lot of fuel in it at any one time. It can be a “mix” of types, separated by a device called a “pig”.

It seems that NOCZIM does not have the money to put any more fuel in at the Beira end of the pipe, so what is in the pipe cannot come out the Harare end. Why they should not have the money is open to question as the various individual importers have pre-paid for their fuel. This makes it sound suspiciously like a Ponzi Scheme (your investment is financing the previous person’s investment – just hope that someone will finance yours!).

In the past various individuals or companies have bailed NOCZIM out. We will have to wait and see if this will happen again.

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