President Uhuru Kenyatta Sunday declared a “great day for Kenya” as he flagged off the first consignment of crude oil destined for export from Kenya, which will lead to oil becoming a major contributor to the nation’s economy.
The President flagged off trucks loaded with crude oil from Ngamia 8, in the Turkana oil fields as part of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme.
“A great day for Kenya,” the President wrote in the visitor’s book on arrival at Ngamia in the Turkana heartland.
Kenya is using the Early Oil Pilot Scheme, which will soon be followed by the Full Field Development phase, to establish itself as a crude oil exporter in the region and provide valuable information for future exploration and development.
"This flag-off event and the anticipated implementation of the Early Oil Pilot (EOP) Scheme marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey," said President Kenyatta when he spoke after flagging off the crude oil laden trucks.
The President, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, said what Kenya stands to gain from the production and exportation of petroleum products cannot be understated.
He said the production of petroleum products will strengthen the existing economic and commercial partnerships and enhance the opportunities for growth and investments within the country.
"My Government will therefore focus on the development of our oil and gas sectors for the betterment of the economy and people," said the President.
The President said the initial petroleum exports will complement the country’s existing development projects under the BIG 4 agenda.
He said it will create scalable local employment and business opportunities including in the hospitality and security sectors.
It will also enhance vocational training opportunities for our young people to ensure that they participate in the oil and gas industry.
The pilot scheme will also incentivise better road infrastructure in the region and spur electricity connectivity to more households in Turkana.
Kenya’s breakthrough places it at the forefront in the East African region which is fast becoming a key player in the global petroleum sector.
“With the discovery of oil and gas in Uganda and Tanzania and the ongoing explorations in Ethiopia and DRC, Kenya finds itself in the company of other resourceful African nations,” said President Kenyatta.
Kenya embarked on the exploration of petroleum in Turkana County in 2012. Under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme 2,000 barrels of oil per day will be transported to Mombasa by road for eventual shipment.
Deputy Ruto said the flagging off event was writing another chapter in the history of Kenya.
He said the success of the exercise is the result of partnership between the Government, the local community and partners.
“The benefits of the project will be shared and no one will be left behind,” said the DP.
Petroleum and Energy Cabinet Secretary John Munyes said it was a ‘momentous time for Kenya’ as it exports the first oil from East Africa.
Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and local MPs said the community was pleased with the success of of the project and export of oil.
They said the region, which has one the harshest climates in Kenya, now has a very bright future.