President Uhuru Kenyatta declared yesterday a “great day for Kenya” when he flagged off the first consignment of crude oil destined for export but also warned on the dangers of the new-found resource.
At the same time, Uhuru urged Parliament to approve the recently ratified revenue sharing agreement to ensure there are no disputes in sharing oil billions among the national government, Turkana County and local community.
If passed, The Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Bill, which had been presented to lawmakers in February this year but later thrown out, will see the host communities get five per cent of revenues down from initially proposed 10 per cent and counties 20 per cent, while the national government will get a lion’s share of 75 per cent.
“This flag-off event and the anticipated implementation of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey. I’m now calling on Parliament to pass the Bill as soon as possible to pave way for full production and I am also calling on local leaders to use the resource to improve livelihoods of communities here,” said Uhuru
The President, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, said what Kenya stands to gain from the production and exportation of petroleum products cannot be understated.
“My Government will therefore focus on the development of our oil and gas sectors for the betterment of the economy and people,” Uhuru said during the ceremony at Ngamia 8 in the Turkana oilfields. Yesterday’s launch now paves way for Kenya’s crude oil (brent crude) to taste the international market, with the country using the Early Oil Pilot Scheme, to be soon followed by the Full Field Development phase, to establish itself as a crude oil exporter in the region and provide valuable information for future exploration and development.
“A great day for Kenya,” Uhuru wrote in the visitor’s book on arrival at Ngamia 8 in the Turkana.
Four trucks mounted with tanktainers (transport containers) left Ngamia 8 yesterday each carrying 150 barrels (23,850 litres) of the initial over 80,000 barrels currently stored in Lokichar, for a journey expected to take about 10 days in the 1,107km route to Mombasa. During the pilot phase, around 2,000 barrels of crude oil will be moved by trucks every day from Lokichar for storage at the Kenya Pipeline Company’s Kenya Petroleum Refinery Ltd facilities in Mombasa until about 400,000 barrels are accumulated for sale in the international market. The Changamwe-based refinery ceased refining crude oil in 2013 and was converted into a storage facility for crude and refined petroleum.
Kenya’s breakthrough places it at the forefront in the East African region which is fast becoming a key player in the global petroleum sector.
“With the discovery of oil and gas in Uganda and Tanzania and the ongoing explorations in Ethiopia and DRC, Kenya finds itself in the company of other resourceful African nations,” said Uhuru.