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Environment study paves the way for Lokichar pipeline

A pipeline at Mombasa sub-station. The Lamu to
A pipeline at Mombasa sub-station. The Lamu to Lokichar crude oil pipeline will will also have fuel station. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA 

The Environmental Social Impact Assessment report for the Lamu to Lokichar Crude Oil Pipeline (LLCOP) project has been released to members of the public.

The report was undertaken by Golder Associates (UK) Limited, an international consultancy, and Kenyan ESF Consultants.

A senior officer who took part in compiling the report and who requested to remain anonymous told Shipping that the report has also a been submitted to the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) and is out for public consumption.

“We undertook various public participation forums, especially for residents in all the counties where the pipeline cuts across including Lamu. We prepared the scoping report which was then given to members of the public as well as Nema. As we speak, feasibility studies are underway in all the areas that the pipeline passes through,” said the official on phone.

The report indicates that the pipeline will be underground but will have some above ground installations at suitable locations.

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The LLCOP project, which is set to start in 2022, is one of the major infrastructure investments by the national government and is apart of the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project which is underway at Kililana in Lamu West.

The Lokichar to Lamu oil pipeline project is perceived as the next frontier on matters economy, trade, industry and employment of locals in the region.

Being a key component of the LAPSSET project, the LLCOP will be an economic game changer, particularly for the six counties that the pipeline will cut across.

Various stakeholders interviewed said the project is anticipated to open up the northern Kenya region to both trade and investment.

What does the pipeline entail?

The pipeline is about 820 kilometres long and needs a 26-metre wide temporary corridor for construction and a six-metre wide corridor for permanent operation.

As a sub-component of LAPSSET, the pipeline will be routed for its entire length within the corridor.

The LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority is the lead government organisation responsible for the development of the corridor and will be the leasor of the pipeline to LLCOP which will in turn be responsible for the construction and operation of the pipeline.

Secondly, LLCOP will comprise of 16 above ground installations which include pumping stations, pressure reduction stations and electricity generation stations.

The pipeline will also have an oil storage facility at the new Lamu port in Kililana, Lamu West.

The proposed oil storage facility is however still being assessed to determine whether there will be either an onshore facility comprising storage tanks and associated infrastructure or whether there will be an offshore facility consisting of a floating storage vessel moored to the export berth.

The construction phase will see up to six camps which will provide accommodation for workers and areas for storage of equipment and other materials.

The six counties that the LLCOP crosses include Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Garissa and Lamu.

The route was developed to incorporate an engineering design, constructability, accessibility and logistical aspects for both construction and operation.

The purpose of the LLCOP project is to provide transportation, storage and export of crude oil from the Lokichar fields.

The project will link the oil fields with international markets.

According to the report, construction time will be two to three years.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Daniel Manduku, during his recent tour of Lamu port, said that plans were in place to ensure that the pipeline project commences.

Mr Manduku said they were engaging various private sector investors before deciding the appropriate investor to work with in implementing the project.

“We are discussing matters to do with the Lokichar-Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline. The project is lined up to take place in 2022.

“We want to give a duration of two years after completion of the first three berths at the LAPSSET so that we can use this period to engage private sector investors to see which one to work with in implementing the project,” said Mr Manduku.

The government entered into a joint development agreement with the Kenya Joint Venture comprising of Tullow Oil Kenya BV, Africa Oil Kenya BV, and Total Oil for the development of the pipeline.

The facility will be used to transport stabilised crude oil from the South Lokichar Basin to the Lamu port.

The LLCOP therefore supports one of the key pillars for economic development and as a key component of the LAPSSET programme is expected to reinforce the Vision 2030 strategy as well as development of the country.

The project will lead to job and business creation along the route.

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