Lower international crude oil prices could offer Kenya an opportunity to procure cheaper oil production equipment in what may be a silver lining as falling prices continue to hurt other countries.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said the country will now speed up the process of acquiring crude oil production equipment during the current down time to maximise on the cheap purchases.
Mr Kamau said the current fall in the international crude oil prices will continue to leave most equipment idle as oil wells close, presenting an opportunity to cut favourable equipment hiring deals for Kenya.
“Before we start production, lower crude oil prices will still be good for us. As soon as we are able to travel, we will deploy officers to go and negotiate favourable deals to hire oil rigs and other equipment which are quite easy to procure now when the market is this low,” Mr Kamau said.
The possibility of hiring cheaper equipment for use in the Kenyan oil fields now present a rare good news in the industry facing various headwinds, including the possible exit of its lead agency Tullow Oil which has been facing financial constraints.
The country earned Sh1.5 billion in 2019, according to the latest official data after it sold the first crude consignment to a Chinese oil multinational last year.
Very little has happened since the August 2019 shipment with the stoppage of crude oil trucking from Turkana after heavy rains eroded roads and Tullow kept postponing the possibility of having a final investment decision on the project any time soon.
Mr Kamau said most of the land surveys for the crude oil pipeline to Lamu had been completed and the government was in the final stages of surveying land for the oil fields when the Covid-19 pandemic struck and disrupted most of the planning.
Tullow in its latest annual report for the year 2019 lamented various hurdles compounding its operations in the East African oil fields.
The oil company has however reiterated belief that Kenyan oil reserves remain viable.