Mombasa — Kenya is expected to make its first shipment of crude oil outside the country sometimes in June this year, Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has said.
Munyes said so far Tullow Oil has transported 87,000 barrels of crude oil from Lokichar in Turkana to Mombasa’s Kenya Oil Refineries Limited tanks for storage.
The country will only be able to make its first crude oil shipment after hitting the 200,000 barrels.
Speaking on Wednesday during the official opening of the 9th East Africa Petroleum Conference at Pride Inn Hotel Mombasa, Munyes said Kenya is poised to become a huge Crude Oil exporter.
“By June this year, we hope the oil that we have been trucking from Lokichar to Mombasa will hit the 200,000 barrels. We’ll have the 200,000 barrels getting into vessel, ready for shipment,” said Munyes.
That will mark one year since President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off the first four vessels with 156 barrels of Crude Oil from Lokichar to Mombasa. it was on June 3, last year.
Tullow Oil Executive Vice President for East Africa, Mark MacFarlane, said the biggest challenge they encountered was that they could only transport up to 600 barrels of Crude Oil per day.
MacFarlane said they had to re-apply for approvals licenses from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authriuity (EPRA) to be allowed to increase the volume to 2,000 barrels per day.
“When the President flagged off the first trucks in June 3, 2018, we only had a license to transport up to 600 barrels per day. To allow us 2,000 barrels per day, we had to get NEMA and Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority to approve that. We received those licenses last week,” he said.
Tullow Oil, which has invested US$2 billion in Kenya, said they are now upbeat that they will be able to hit the 200,000 barrels required for the first shipment.
Kenya has a total of 94 wells of oil that have been drilled, 63 exploration blocks that have been gazette, 276 blocks licensed while 36 other blocks are open to investors.
The national government is putting up an 820km, twenty-inch diameter, South Lokichar-Lamu crude oil pipeline that will connect Turkana to Lamu Port. It is expected to be ready by 2022.