NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14- Kenya has moved closer to becoming an oil exporting country after the government gave the go-ahead for Tullow Oil, Africa Oil and Maersk Oil to transport crude oil from Lokichar in Turkana to Mombasa, starting April.
The three companies under Kenya Joint venture (KJV), plan to immediately start giving tenders to truck owners for the crude oil to be taken to Kenyan Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) in Mombasa ready for export.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement with KJV representatives at his office on Tuesday, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the crude oil will be exported to test its reception in the international markets.
“Some of you have been asking, ‘what is the comparison of our oil with the others in the world?’ But we cannot know that before it hits the market and that is why we are doing this. With this agreement we will now be in a better position to say…by the end of next month, we should start the movement of products from Lokichar to Mombasa and eventually for export,” Keter said.
The agreement under Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) will mark the first major milestone in Kenya’s Oil and Gas industry of producing and exporting crude oil for the first time in the country’s history.
The pilot scheme will help establish Kenya as a crude oil exporter and provide valuable information on the international market for Kenyan crude since the product is new in the global crude oil market.
EOPS will also help Kenya utilise the five existing wells to produce oil, with phase one targeting oil production of 2,000 barrels per day.
Keter said the beginning of the pilot scheme will also help Kenya develop further supporting infrastructure toward Full Field Development which includes LAPSSET (Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopian Transport) developments and a crude oil pipeline from Turkana to Lamu carrying between 80,000 to 150,000 barrels of oil per day.
“The government’s plan is to have completed the construction of the pipeline by the year 2020 when it targets to hit the 1 billion oil barrels mark from the 750million barrels by 2016,” he noted.