Kenyan leader flags off first consignment of 200,000 barrels for petroleum export

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday flagged off the first consignment of 200,000 barrels for export as the east African nation joins the league of petroleum exporting countries.

The first consignment of Kenyan crude oil which left the Port of Mombasa for Britain, makes Kenya the first eastern Africa country to become an oil exporting nation, said Kenyatta at a ceremony in the coastal city.

“I am proud to say Kenya’s grand march to oil and gas production and export has begun. The flagging-off of this maiden consignment represents a new dawn for Kenya; and the beginning of an era of greater prosperity for all Kenyans,” he said.

Kenyatta said the consignment of 200,000 barrels of low sulphur crude from oil fields in Turkana County in northwest Kenya destined for Britain is worth 1.2 billion shillings (12 million U.S. dollars), a price much higher than what was initially projected.

Energy officials said the exports are aimed at gauging the international markets’ reception to Kenya’s low-sulphur oil ahead of commercial production that is now estimated to start in the second half of 2023.

The Celsius Riga, the ship carrying the Kenyan crude oil left the Mombasa Port shortly after midday.

He said the government is committed to achieve sustainable development through prudent use of the country’s resources.

“We will ensure that Kenya’s natural resources are utilized in a manner that yields maximum dividends today but without compromising the interests of future generations,” he said.

Kenya’s Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) commenced in June marking the beginning of the journey towards full development of Kenya’s oil and gas resources.

Kenyatta said EOPS has shown global markets that Kenya possesses the know-how and infrastructure required to facilitate full production of commercial quantities of its oil resource.

He said that the next phase following the success of the pilot project will include full field development that will be characterized by production and pipeline transportation of crude from Lokichar to the new Port of Lamu.

The Kenyan leader said the oil project has already brought benefits for the people of Turkana County, with the local communities directly benefiting from employment opportunities in production and logistics, in addition to provision of ancillary and support services.

“As we proceed to full field development, we will ensure that local communities are major beneficiaries of these resources,” Kenyatta assured, noting that the government has put in place measures to ensure that the fruits of prosperity are shared with devolved units in an equitable and sustainable manner.

British firm Tullow Oil, which has exploration and oil fields in Turkana, said in July that the EOPS production was increased from 600 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to 2,000 bopd and, to date, more than 200,000 barrels of oil have been delivered to the port of Mombasa.

In 2012, Tullow discovered commercial oil deposits in the east African nation that are currently estimated at 750 million barrels.

The EOPS is being undertaken by the Kenya joint venture partners comprising of Tullow Oil, Africa Oil and Total Oil and the Kenyan government who own the Blocks 10BB and 13T in northwest Kenya. (Xinhua)

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