Kenya’s maiden crude oil will hit the international market next week destined for China.
The crude oil will be shipped by Chinese state owned firm ChemChina which won the tender to buy the maiden Kenyan oil early this month.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau has said the sale gives momentum to the nascent oil exploration industry in Kenya.
Kamau further says the construction of 810 kilometers pipeline between Lokichar and Lamu is expected to commence next year and take three years to complete.
Early this month President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the entry of Kenya into the exclusive club of oil exporting nations.
This follows a deal by UK based Chinese oil dealer ChemChina to buy Kenya’s maiden 200k barrels of crude oil from oil miner Tullow Oil at a cost of 1.2 billion shillings.
The Chinese firm, which is the oil trading arm of ChemChina Petrochemical, is engaged in crude oil trading, storage and procurement of the commodity.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau says the lifting of Kenyan oil is expected to be accelerated once the construction of the Lamu-Lokichar oil pipeline is complete in 2023.
Kamau further says the trucking of crude oil to the Port of Mombasa will proceed even as the construction of the pipeline continues.
Tullow Oil is in discussion with financiers, and expects to close the crude oil pipeline construction deal by May next year.
The company has so far invested 200 billion shillings in the exploration activities in the Lokichar basin and plans to pump another 300 billion shillings in the next three years to develop exploration and piping infrastructure.
ChemChina managed to outbid 7 other competitors, drawn from Europe and Asia who were angling for the Kenyan oil.