Petroleum PS: Turkana oil not enough to warrant refinery construction

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A Tullow Oil rigging site-inTurkana.
A Tullow Oil rigging site-in Turkana. PHOTO/COURTESY

Petroleum and Mining Industry Principle Secretary Andrew Kamau has revealed that the Turkana oil deposits do not produce enough barrels of oil per day (bopd) to merit the construction of an oil refinery in the region.

In a report published by Reuters, Mr. Kamau highlighted that global oil refineries operate on a capacity of at least 400, 000 bopd which is far greater than what the Turkana oil reserves can produce.

“And we have 80,000 barrels a day, so where are we going to make money on that? We can import cheaper from India,” the Petroleum and Mining CS is quoted as saying by Reuters.

Oil Exploration Company Tullow oil was contracted to source the crude oil first discovered in Turkana’s Lokichar basin in 2012. According to the firm, the oil reserves are capable of producing approximately 60,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day of gross production.

As it stands, Kenya does not have an operational Oil refinery apart from the failed Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KRPL) factory situated in Changamwe, Mombasa County, which only serves as storage for the Turkana oil.

The Changamwe storage factory was initially intended to be a fully-fledged oil refinery in 2013 but plans to fully construct it were abandoned after the government ruled that the project would severely impact Kenya’s economy. Following the development, the government took it over in 2016 and morphed it into a storage facility instead.

Last month Tullow Oil had announced that the average amount of crude oil transported from Turkana’s Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) to Mombasa was set to increase in the second quarter of 2019. The firm similarly stated that it would inject Ksh. 7 billion into its Kenyan operations.

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