Saudi Arabia has overtaken the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the leading source of Kenya’s oil imports. Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that imports of petroleum products from Saudi Arabia last year increased by 61 % to Sh132.6 billion, up from Sh70.4 billion in the previous year. However, oil imports from the UAE increased at a slower pace of 7.6 per cent to Sh116.9 billion in 2018 compared to Sh108.6 billion in the previous year.
The decision by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to cut allocations of Murban crude oil to its customers by 25 per cent could have pushed Kenyan traders to Saudi Arabia. Murban Crude oil is ADNOC’s main onshore grade. It is from it that petroleum oil that Kenya imports from AUE come from. Imports from Saudi Arabia rose the highest during the period under review, by 51 per cent underscoring massive migration of Kenyan traders to the Gulf State.