18 firms in list of Kenya’s early oil bidders

A truck transports oil from Turkana County to Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has reached out to 18 global oil refinery firms in the ongoing search for buyers of the early Turkana crude oil exports targeted for the second quarter of the year.

Petroleum principal secretary Andrew Kamau Tuesday said his ministry has sent out information to refining companies outlining the expected volumes of crude oil in the country to assess their level of interest.

“We have circulated to a number of players with who a team from Tullow Oil and Government of Kenya will be meeting in London during the International Petroleum (IP) Week where sector players meet and exchange ideas on the market,” said Mr Kamau.

The discussions will take place between 26-28 February, being the dates set for the 2019 IP Week that is expected to attract big players in the oil and gas industry.

Kenya’s Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) was launched in June last year.

Transportation of oil by road from Turkana oil fields to Mombasa is planned to continue up to around April. It will then pause for about three weeks to allow for connection of more wells to step up output from 600 barrels of oil per day to about 2,000 bopd.

The pricing and loading schedule is also expected to become clear after the London meeting.

“We will meet with companies that feel can refine Kenyan crude. We will then find out which price they are willing to pay. Whoever gives us the best value is the one we will ship the crude to,” said the PS at a media briefing in Nairobi yesterday.

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Mr Kamau said the main objective of the EOPS is not to make money but ship out small volumes of Turkana oil to gauge reception in the international markets as well as export logistics.

Kenya has been transporting crude oil from northern Kenya to Mombasa via trucks since last year. About 73,143 barrels of oil have been accumulated at Mombasa port so far but this is not yet sufficient for export, according to Tullow Oil Kenya managing director Martin Mbogo. “We hope that we will fill a vessel size by about mid-year. So the desire and ambition to export some oil by the middle of this year still stands,” said Mr Mbogo, adding that a ship will require at least 200,000 barrels.

British oil exploration company Tullow is expected later in the year to announce investments related to the large-scale commercial exports of about 80,000 bpd projected in 2022 upon construction of the pipeline linking the Turkana oil fields to Lamu port.