Kenya halts oil export plan
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Kenya halts oil export plan

Posted WANJOHI GITHAE in Nairobi

on  Thursday, June 29   2017 at  15:08

The Kenya government has suspended the much-awaited export of oil from Turkana in the north-east.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter on Thursday blamed the suspension on Parliament's delay in passage of the Petroleum Oil Bill.

This came as cases of banditry and other forms of insecurity continued to be reported in Turkana area.

The government had set June 31 deadline, when the first batch of oil would leave Kenya but that will now only be possible after the August General Election.

Upsurge of attacks

Mr Keter said the government had to wait until the Senate passed the Bill that stipulates how the national and county government, as well as local community would share oil revenues.

The suspension also belies the ongoing tension between the local community and Tullow Oil, the British company tasked with oil drilling.

In the last few weeks, there has been an upsurge of attacks on Tullow Oil employees by bandits.

Tullow oil had already drilled 40,000 barrels for transport to Mombasa at the coast, but bandit attacks have frustrated that plan.

State of insecurity

The companies that are constructing the key Kitale-Turkana road, which was to be used to ferry the oil, have also reported attacks on their employees.

Construction works have been suspended in some parts, reports indicate.

But Mr Keter on Thursday sought to downplay the state of insecurity in the expansive county that is the size of Rwanda.

“Insecurity has nothing to do with what Tullow Oil has been doing in Turkana,” he said.

“Insecurity happens everywhere. There have been incidences of insecurity in the area even before drilling started.”