Kenya to start exporting its oil by road in 2017

Kenya will by 2017 start exporting 2,000 barrels of crude oil per day both by rail and by road as it will have to wait five years to complete its own pipeline after Uganda opted for a Tanzania route for its pipeline.

At a meeting between various East African Governments in Kampala, the Ugandan capital on April 23 2016, it was agreed that Uganda and Kenya would develop separate, standalone export pipelines for their oil resources. Kenya’s Energy Cabinet secretary Charles Keter had told a parliamentary committee that the Kenyan team was not even allowed to present its case despite being invited. Uganda had cited security concerns and the cost of construction as its reasons for not choosing Kenya. The landlocked country had last year said it would build a pipeline through Kenya to link its fields to Kenyan discoveries in Lokichar and on to the port town of Lamu.

Regardless of Uganda’s decision, Keter said that Kenya was proceeding with plans to start small-scale production by next year. In view of this, roads connecting the oilfields in Turkana to Eldoret are now being upgraded, along with a railway from Eldoret to the port city of Mombasa. The proposed pipeline from Lokichar-Isiolo-Lamu will be ready in the second quarter of 2021 and will cost $4.2 billion.

Tullow, the Africa-focused explorer, which, together with its partner Africa Oil, first struck oil in Lokichar in northwest Kenya in 2012, said it will now work with the Government of Kenya and its partners “on a range of options for the independent development of these (oil) resources including early production using existing infrastructure which would provide valuable reservoir data ahead of a full field development with an export pipeline”.

“Tullow will be able to produce about 2,000 barrels per day. But they are not going to go into full-scale production for commercialisation,” Keter said.