The supply of fuel is a critical component of logistics operations in South Sudan. The country currently has no oil refineries and relies heavily on fuel imports to service its domestic needs. Historically, the vast majority of fuel supplies were imported from Sudan using barges and trucks, however in recent times; the majority of fuels have been imported from neighboring countries Kenya, Uganda and to a limited extent Ethiopia. The availability and price of fuel has seen dramatic fluctuations in the last two years. Fuel prices vary around the country with the cost of transport, including the various taxes levied by the national and state governments affecting the price.
Currently the supply of fuel is erratic with suppliers trucking in the majority of fuel from neighbouring countries with the major in-country suppliers having direct access to Kenyan refineries. However, a high demand for fuel and the Government’s push to become fuel self-reliant has lead to plans for the rapid development of the countries own refining capability. Current plans include a proposed pipeline to the port of Lamu that would also include the construction of a refinery at the port. In the short term, the construction of a number of smaller refineries is planned.
The market for fuel is relatively transparent and there are few barriers to entry save for the high investment costs involved. Since the closure of the border with Sudan, the regular supply of fuel from that country has decreased dramatically and since fuel has to be trucked in, supply remains erratic with retail outlets regularly experiencing fuel shortages. As a result, larger fuel importers have responded by increasing their fuel bunkering capacity either within South Sudan, or in strategic locations in neighboring countries to ensure a constant supply of fuel.
For information on South Sudan Fuel contact details, please see the following links:
Fuel Prices - Mytravelcost Wesbite (updated monthly)
The government has set a price ceiling at which suppliers can sell fuel in order to protect local consumers against high fuel prices. These prices change on a regular basis for all fuel types and is linked to the fluctuating exchange rate.
During the rainy season when most of the country becomes inaccessible by road, the availability of fuel in certain areas and price fluctuations becomes an issue. Fuel suppliers have historically responded to this by increasing their fuel bunkering capacity in strategic locations. In recent times and due to improved road infrastructure, and an improved security situation, most major towns are reachable during the wet season.
Are there national priorities in the availability of fuel? (Yes / No)
Is there a rationing system? (Yes / No)
Is fuel to lower income/vulnerable groups subsidized? (Yes / No)
Can the local industry expand fuel supply to meet humanitarian needs? (Yes / No)
Yes. However, a sudden and prolonged surge in demand would be problematic and given the length of the supply chain,
it is highly unlikely that South Sudanese fuel suppliers would be able to meet the surge in demand for extended periods of time.
Is it possible for a humanitarian organization to contract directly a reputable supplier/distributor to provide its fuel needs? (Yes / No)
Yes, various suppliers with direct access to fuel refineries is operating within South Sudan
Historically river barges and road tankers from Sudan were utilised to transport fuel into South Sudan. This import method is still in effect as there are no strategic pipeline assets in place to transport petroleum products from refineries in neighbouring countries to states and major urban centres within South Sudan. Currently, fuel tankers from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia transport the vast majority of fuel to major supply depots around the country. Fuel barges from Juba also transport fuel to downstream locations with road tankers transporting fuel to outlying depots from there. Currently, the fuel transport system is able to keep up with demand; however a sudden surge in demand would put a strain on the available supply and transport capacity. The supply of fuel into the north of the country remains intermittent, which is compounded by the length of the supply chain from refineries in neighbouring countries and road accessibility constraints during the rainy season.
Standards, Quality and Testing
The National Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Energy and Mining is responsible for the setting and enforcement of fuel standards and quality in South Sudan. Currently, however, the enforcement of such standards remains challenging and the country is reliant on the standards set by neighboring countries from which fuel is imported. Furthermore, current standards enforcement is only limited to visits and the testing and calibration of distribution meters at retail stations to protect consumers from unregulated pricing. All major suppliers have installed their own filters and firefighting equipment.
Currently there are no national testing laboratories and commercial companies have the best capacity to test fuel within the country. Dalbit fuels have access to a Society General de Surveillance (SGS) laboratory in Rumbek to test and re-certify AGO diesel fuel. The company is also able to test Jet-A1 Fuel to ensure that it conforms to international standards. Other large suppliers like Tristar who have the UNMISS contract both for diesel and Jet A1 are running training programs for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to establish standards and QC for ROSS ministry personnel.
Industry Control Measures
Tanks with adequate protection against water mixing with the fuel (Yes / No)
Yes, only large suppliers are able to adequately provide this capacity.
Filters in the system, monitors where fuel is loaded into aircraft (Yes / No)
Yes, major fuel suppliers have filter systems in place both at fuel storage units and on fuel trucks to ensure water and particulate filtration.
Adequate epoxy coating of tanks on trucks (Yes / No)
No, only major fuel suppliers have adequate protection.
Presence of suitable fire fighting equipment (Yes / No)
Yes, only large suppliers can realistically provide acceptable fire fighting systems and adhere to international standards.
Is there a national or regional standards authority? (Yes / No)
If yes, are the standards adequate/properly enforced? (Yes / No)
Are there national testing laboratories? (Yes / No)
For information on South Sudan Fuel, please see the following dated but still relevant document: