NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Exploration firm Tullow Oil says it is working hard to ensure that operations resume as soon as possible at the oil drilling wells following their closure over the weekend due to demonstrations by area residents.
In a statement, the company said that it is currently liaising with both the county and national governments so that work can resume on Blocks 10BB and 13T as soon as possible.
It further stated its commitment to employ as many local workers and local services as possible.
”We are confident that the issue will be quickly resolved. We have a long-term view of our operations in Kenya and are committed to working with the Government, the communities and the people of Kenya to ensure that the newly found resource brings lasting benefits to all Kenyans. We are working together with key stakeholders to ensure the current situation is resolved.” the statement indicated.
The company pointed out that it currently employs over 800 people from the Turkana region out of the 1,400 employed on Tullow’s Kenyan operations.
“Tullow takes its relationships with the local communities extremely seriously and the decision to suspend exploration and appraisal operations was taken to prevent further escalation of the demonstrations while discussions to resolve this issue for the long term are ongoing,” it said.
It suspended its operations over the weekend as a result of demonstrations by the residents demanding to be employed at the company’s sites, including Ngamia 1 and Twiga 1, which are its biggest operations.
“Tullow confirms that there have been a number of demonstrations at Tullow operated sites in Northern Kenya regarding local concerns around employment. We are working with the Central and County Government to bring these demonstrations to a peaceful and orderly close as soon as possible. We have temporarily suspended our operations across Block 10BB and Block 13T in Turkana East and Turkana South sub-counties. The priority at the moment is to ensure the safety and security of our staff,” the company had stated.
Residents in the area marched to the oil sites, demanding an explanation from Tullow president on the criteria the firm used to hire workers.
Last month, the company announced that the Ekales-1 wildcat, located in Block 13T had made a new oil discovery.
Results of drilling, wire line logs and samples of reservoir fluid indicated a potential net oil pay in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs of between 60 and 100 metres.
This is the fourth consecutive wildcat discovery, in the first oil basin opened in Northern Kenya, since drilling commenced in 2012.
The Ekales-1 well is located between the Ngamia-1 and Twiga South-1 oil discoveries and the reservoir properties at this location are similar to those previously encountered.