By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Kenya exported its first ever batch of crude oil on Monday, with President Uhuru Kenyatta declaring the shipment of 200,000 barrels a “special moment” in the country’s history.
The President released the Kenyan flag athwart a tanker at the Indian Ocean Port of Mombasa that will be carrying the oil to Asia.
“There are special moments that mark a turning point in the destiny of our nation”, Kenyatta said at the ceremony.
The first shipment was purchased for $ 12 million by Chinese trading company ChemChina for export to Malaysia.
Kenyatta noted, the first attempt at finding oil in Kenya was in 1937. It was not until 2012, that a commercially possible deposit was located.
This field was discovered in the South Lokichar Basin in Turkana, in Kenya’s far north by a British firm – Tullow and its joint venture partners.
The company estimates the field holds 560 million barrels of oil.
Kenya is expected to earn $ 84 million over the next two years. UK – based Chinese company ChemChina UK Limited won the bid, to buy the first batch of 240,000 barrels under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS).
Oil bids were received from firms in Asia and Europe, but the joint oil production consortium, led by explorer Tullow Oil, awarded the contract to ChemChina.
The crude was transported 850 km (528 miles) by road from the country’s north – western oil fields in Turkana to Mombasa. Kenya currently does not have oil pipeline in place.
A plan to build a joint pipeline with Uganda failed after Kampala opted to partner with Tanzania.
Tullow estimates that Kenya’s fields in Turkana hold up to 560 million barrels of oil and expects to produce up to 100,000 barrels per day from 2022.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent
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