President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday officially flagged off the first consignment of crude oil destined for export from Kenya, which will lead to oil becoming a major contributor to the nation’s economy.
Kenya is using the Early Oil Pilot Scheme, which will soon be followed by the Full Field Development phase, to establish itself as a crude oil exporter in the region and provide valuable information for future exploration and development.
Speaking at Ngamia 8 in Turkana County where he flagged off trucks loaded with crude oil, Mr. Kenyatta said the production of petroleum products will strengthen the existing economic and commercial partnerships.
“What we stand to gain from the production and exportation of oil and gas cannot be understated. The Early Oil Pilot scheme will complement our existing development projects under the big four agenda,” said Kenyatta, who was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto.
“It will create scalable local employment as well as business opportunities in the hospitality and security sectors just as much as it will enhance vocational training opportunities for the youth who will participate in the oil and gas sector,” Said the President.”
The project is expected to be a key enabler for the fuel field development and will incentivise better roads and infrastructure in the region in particular and spur electricity connectivity to more households in Turkana.
Kenya is the first nation in East Africa to facilitate oil exportation and this places it at the forefront in the East African region which is fast becoming a key player in the global petroleum sector.
The discovery of oil and gas in Uganda and Tanzania and the ongoing explorations in Ethiopia and DRC has seen Kenya find itself in the company of other resourceful African nations.
“In the regional level, this project will help establish Kenya as a crude oil exporter as well as provide valuable information for future exploration and development,” the president added.
However, the president also issued a word of caution to the inhabitants of Turkana and the nation as a whole.
“We can lose all these benefits if we fail to effectively manage our resources. Negative competition for oil has seen two peaceful nations go to war. It has seen brothers take up arms against each other as mothers bury their children with no hope for the future. The economies of countries that have failed to manage their resources have also suffered the ripple effect of hungry and poor citizens,” he said.
“I call upon our leaders to ensure peace and stability in the region and to ensure that any disagreements that may arise are resolved in an amicable and sustainable manner.”
Kenya embarked on the exploration of petroleum in Turkana County in 2012. Under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme 2,000 barrels of oil per day will be transported to Mombasa by road for eventual shipment.