The long-awaited export of the first barrels of oil stamped « Kenya » became a reality on Monday 26 August.
Kenyan Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta, who was present at a ceremony in the port of Mombasa, displayed the national flag aboard the tanker carrying 200,000 barrels of oil extracted from the country’s first onshore fields in the Turkana region (northwest). This black gold sale was announced earlier this month, for $1.2 million, to the Chinese petrochemical company ChemChina. « There are special moments that mark a turning point in the destiny of our nation. …]Our nation’s first export of crude oil is one of those special moments in our history as a people and a country, » President Kenyatta said at the inaugural event. A symbolic achievement that reinforces the commitment of British junior Tullow Oil and its partner Africa Oil, which discovered these oil reserves in the Lokichar basin (Turkana region) in 2012. As an attentive observer of Tullow Oil’s progress, the French group Total has since acquired a 25% stake in the project. According to the estimates of the above-mentioned companies, Turkana’s oil fields would contain 560 million barrels of oil and a production of 100,000 barrels per day is expected by 2022.
In the meantime, however, the volumes sold are expected to remain negligible, as the crude oil cargo sold has been trucked to the port of Mombasa (more than 1000 km from the production area) as there is currently no pipeline. Another sensitive subject is the distribution of this (future) manna, far from being unanimously accepted. In March, for example, an oil law was enacted, which regulates revenue sharing between the government, companies and local authorities to the extent of 75%, 20% and 5% respectively. An unfair distribution according to the communities of the Turkana region, which claim a larger share of the revenues generated and recall that an earlier version of the law gave them 10% (instead of 5).