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Tullow Oil in search of strategic investor for ‘Project Kenya’

By Judith Akolo

Tullow Oil is engaged in discussions with some parties to get them to join as strategic investors. The company CEO Rahul Dhir has expressed optimism on the success of the Turkana oil project.

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Previous partners TotalEnergies and Africa Oil announced in May 2023 they were withdrawing from South Lokichar, Turkana County, where commercial oil extraction is yet to begin.

“We are very delighted not just to be in Kenya but also at the field, where we were given a warm welcome by all the county and community leadership. We have seen a lot of traction and movement since the new government came in,” said Dhir, alongside the Tullow Kenya BV Managing Director, Madhan Srinivasan, National Oil Corporation of Kenya Chairman Kiraitu Murungi and CEO Leparan Morintat.

Dhir said that Tullow is 100 per cent committed to ‘Project Kenya’ adding that they are engaged in discussions with a few parties to come in as strategic partners.

Tullow Oil in May 2023 submitted its revised Field Development Plan to Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (EPRA), which is now reviewing it.

NOC Chairman Kiraitu Murungi said National Oil Corporation alone stands to earn approximately US$8 billion in value out of its 22.5% carry-in interest in the estimated 500 million barrels from the Lokichar basin alone, an amount he said that will be enough to cut dependency on foreign aid and lift millions of Kenyans out of poverty.

“Experts tell us that the Lokichar field asset is quantified at 472 million barrels recoverable. With the State’s carry-in interest of 22.5 per cent share in the production sharing contract, NOC stands to earn $8 billion at the current rate of $80 a barrel. We can do a lot with this kind of money,” Mr Murungi said.

He added that the country stands to benefits in terms of jobs, royalties and infrastructural development, noting that while Kenya is endowed with considerable green energy resources, the country needs an inflow of dollars that solar or wind power cannot not bring into the country.

Alluding to how Ghana used its oil find to power its economy, Mr Murungi said Kenya could leverage early oil production to provide a financial cushion for the country.

The Turkana oil asset, Mr Morintat said, is the single hottest Kenyan investment at the moment, and that the sooner it is developed the better for the country. He said NOC will support Tullow and the Government to move faster to the production phase.

“NOC has considerable capacity which we shall deploy to help develop our country. We host one of the few globally recognized petroleum data centers in developing economies and we are in the process of equipping our geophysical and petrochemical laboratory which will be the only one of its kind in Africa.” he noted

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