Kenya: Host Community Disrupts Oil Trucking Over Jobs, Alleged Neglect

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Drivers from Kenya’s oil-rich Turkana region blocked a convoy of trucks ferrying crude oil to the port of Mombasa, demanding inclusion in the oil transportation.

The men who bashed oil companies, government and other stakeholders for “neglecting” the community, were asking for more opportunities for local drivers.

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Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil Plc and Africa Oil first discovered crude oil in the Lokichar basin in 2012, which Tullow Oil estimates contains an estimated 560 million barrels in proven and probable reserves. Tullow has said this would translate to 60,000 to 100,000 barrels per day of gross production.

Kenya, through Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) commenced trucking crude oil to the port of Mombasa in June 2018. Transportation of early oil is estimated at $15 million. It takes each truck 10 days to complete a  1,025 km round trip from the fields to the port.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Tullow Oil confirmed the disruption, saying it had later been resolved after an intervention from the local leadership.

“At 1100hrs on Monday 8th July 2019, a convoy of trucks carrying crude oil from Lokichar to Mombasa and operated by our contractors was briefly interrupted at Lokichar by a group who identified themselves as members of an association representing truck drivers from Turkana South and were demanding for more opportunities for local drivers,” statement read in part.

Tullow has also stated that they have ensured that the surrounding Turkana community benefits from the project.

It said: “Tullow can further confirm that 30 per cent of all EOPS trucks and driver opportunities have been provided to Turkana local business people and local drivers, respectively.”

“Tullow looks to give first consideration of the procurement of goods and services, where commercially and technically possible, to local suppliers from the host countries in which we operate.

In July 2018, the British company had to stop its operations due to insecurity as locals turned hostile against the company.

Kenya’s oil production under the pilot scheme has increased from 600 barrels per day to 2000 bpd, with more than 150,000 barrels of crude now trucked to Mombasa.

Tullow has since said first export is set to be shipped in the third quarter of this year.

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