Uhuru's Multi-Billion Project Stalls After UK Company's Tough Conditions

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta's multi-billion flagship project with the potential to transform Kenya's economy has run into headwinds.

    Oil exploration and transportation company, Tullow, on Wednesday, January 15 confirmed the suspension of oil transportation via road from Turkana to Mombasa due to the poor state of local roads.

    In August 2019, President Kenyatta flagged off the first consignment worth Ksh1.2 billion headed to Malaysia.

    A past photo of trucks ferrying crude oil from Turkana to Mombasa

    In a statement seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the company indicated that transportation of the precious commodity would not proceed until the necessary work was done. 

    “In Kenya, the early oil pilot scheme (EOPS) is suspended due to severe damage to roads caused by adverse weather in the fourth quarter of 2019.

    “Trucking remains on hold until all roads are repaired to a safe standard. Work continues with Joint Venture Partners and the Government of Kenya to progress the development project,” read the statement.

    Tullow issued the update and guidance in advance of the Group’s 2019 Full Year Results.

    While flagging off Kenya’s maiden crude oil export in August 2019, President Kenyatta indicated that the exports would help grow the national economy putting Kenya in the list of oil-exporting nations.

    The president also promised that the government would move in to ensure that the local community benefitted from the exportation of the precious commodity.

    “The government will ensure that the local communities benefit from the oil and that the fruits of the resource are also shared in an equitable and sustainable manner.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta with other leaders ready for flagging off ceremony of Kenya's first crude oil export in Mombasa in August 2019

    “I urge all those in charge to avoid any misuse of the resource that would deny others from its benefit,” remarked Kenyatta.

    The oil was exported through the Chinese state-owned firm ChemChina which won the tender to purchase the maiden Kenyan oil at a premium early.