Ethiopian Petroleum and Energy Authority is acquiring a new system to digitally regulate the petroleum market, according to Authority officials. Once it is fully automated, industry actors such as stations, fuel trucks, and depots will be able to share real-time data with the Authority.
The new system, which will consist of an app and a data center, will allow the Authority to digitally record the precise figures when fuel is loaded onto trucks, offloaded at gas stations, and purchased by automobiles from the stations.
At this point, the implementation process at petrol stations is around 70 percent complete. This will put an end to illegal trades that take advantage of the manual regulating system, according to the Authority’s director general, Saharla Abdullahi. The Authority is considering starting a pilot program in Addis Ababa and fully implement the system in over a thousand gas stations across the country once the pilot is completed, according to her.
“It will be a breakthrough for the industry if we succeed in the implementation,” she told The Reporter. “One of the benefits is that we will exactly know how much fuel we use in the country, and the other is that it will stop the chaos created by working manually.”
Saharla confirmed that the cost of buying and installing the system has been agreed upon with the company and that the development is already completed. A British firm is responsible for developing the technology, but she did not explain how much money was spent on acquiring it, according to her.
The Authority will combine this technology with the GPS system needed of all gasoline trucks in order to trace the fuel from the moment it leaves the port in Djibouti.
Currently, regulators keep track of loaded or unloaded fuel by looking at paperwork, which the director general said gave people a chance to defraud the government.
With ethio telecom coming on board to assure that all areas with gas stations have access to the internet, the Authority will also have the chance for instant follow-up on the stations’ status on fuel availability.
“Instead of wandering around, even drivers will be able to download the application and check which station has fuel,” she said. “They can even check what time the stations work.”
The director says all the procurement processes are now complete and that the Authority is waiting for the government’s decision on whether payment should be made in installments or as a one-time payment.
“It is a lot of money for the government to pay at once, so we are reviewing options for installment payments,” she said. Saharla revealed that a team from the technology company is currently conducting surveys on stations and how their dispensers can be operationally compatible with the technology.