Anti-oil protests are costing us Sh1m per day, says Energy CS

Energy Cabinet Secretary John Munyes

NAIROBI, KENYA: The government is losing Sh1 million per day due to the halt in exploration and transportation of crude oil through the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS).

The revelations were made by Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary (CS) John Munyes who said the current stalemate facing the process in Lokichar, where oil trucks are not able to move from the oil wells to Changamwe in Mombasa is costing government huge amounts of money.

He said the recent blockade by locals due to employment, insecurity and calls for tenders in the drilling company is a concern to worry while calling for locals to desist from blockades while expressing their grievances.

“The blockade is not helping our country at all, at the moment, we have lost Sh300 million and in the next two weeks, the figure will go up to Sh400 million and even eat into Sh1 billion in the coming weeks, brought about by individuals who does not want the oil to be transported for refinery,” said Munyes who spoke in Eldoret.

He said oil is important along with security of the locals adding that natural resources pose a good revenue for the country.

“We are currently persuading our people to desist from blockades whenever an issue arise. It is not good for our economy if we have resources but not in a position to exploit and transport them to the market and also for exportation purposes,” he added.

Munyes said they have been in discussions with the local leadership and the investor and they have agreed to come up with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in a bid to ensure that transportation resumes.

“At the moment, the investor (Tullow) has decided that we undertake an MOU that is being drafted by the ministries of Interior and Mining which we will sign before commencement of the oil transportation, this will act as a binding solution and commitment to the investor that in the future blockades is not ideal in resolving issues,” he noted.

The CS observed that the Mou will also see the county government append their signatures as an indication of bringing an end to the stalemate adding that the government has beefed security in the oil fields by deploying 600 General Service Unit (GSU) and Administration Police (AP) officers.

Hardly a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) at Ngamia 8 in Lokichar Turkana County, the initiative has been confronted by ugly protests from locals who have paralyzed movement of crude oil in a week long stalemate. 

The standoff between the locals and transporters at Kalemngorok center along Lokichar- Kitale highway saw Tullow halt EOPS.

This means that in a week, the company has not been in a position to transport some 4,368 barrels of the most sought commodity.