Kenya’s long-held dream of joining the oil-exporting league is closer to becoming a reality as the country nears the targeted 200,000 barrels required to make the first shipment.
The government has stored 199,000 barrels of crude oil at the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL) tanks in Mombasa in preparation for shipment now expected to start next month.
However, the government is yet to make public the destination of the crude oil and who will be the refiner.
Nelson Karisa, KPRL Deputy Depot Manager said transportation of the crude from Turkana by road to Mombasa for storage and shipment to foreign markets has been a success.
“We have already received a total of over 29 million litres of crude oil from Turkana out of the targeted 30 million litres,” he said.
Speaking to journalists after the tour of the facility, Karisa said the government target was to have 200,000 barrels of crude in August in readiness for export.
“We have 199,000 barrels of crude in our storage facilities and by the end of the month the remaining product will have arrived,” he said.
On June 3, 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off trucks loaded with crude oil from Ngamia 8, Turkana East as part of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS). This first phase saw the transportation of 2,000 barrels of crude daily to Mombasa.
EOPS is being used to provide valuable information for future exploration and development and is to be followed by the full field development phase.
The crude is stored at KPRL facility which is under Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) after a three-year lease.
And with lease period over, there is a stand-off over its renewal, with some officials from KPRL opposing the move, a development which might derail the scheme and other strategic measures by KPC to make the refining facility economically viable after operations were grounded in 2013.
The government has so far injected some Sh1.1 billion into refurbishing some of the tanks currently being used to store crude from the Turkana fields.
KPRL shut down operations in September 2013 following a disagreement between the government and India’s Essar Energy who were the two main shareholders.