Tullow oil suspends operations over conflict with locals

One of the oil sites operated by Tullow Oil Company in Turkana. (Photo:File/Standard)
By Lucas Ng’asike

Turkana, Kenya: The on-going oil exploration in parts of Turkana South and East districts has been suspended indefinitely following protests by local communities.

In a statement issued to the press, Tullow Kenya BV Sunday announced it has temporarily suspended its operations in oil wells in the region until calm is restored.

“We take this action seriously and priority at the moment is to ensure the safety and security of our entire local staff, national and expatriate,” read the statement signed by Mercy Kabangi, the company’s corporate affairs adviser.

The statement also confirmed that there have been a number of demonstrations in oil operation sites prompting stoppage of operations.

The statement further said the company is working with the local community and police to bring all issues to a peaceful order.

“Tullow confirms that there have been a number of demonstrations at Tullow operated sites in Northern Kenya regarding local concerns around employment. We are working with the Central and County governments to bring these demonstrations to a peaceful and orderly close as soon as possible,” read the statement.

It went on to say: “We have temporarily suspended our operations across Block 10BB and Block 13T in Turkana East and Turkana South sub-counties. The priority at the moment is to ensure the safety and security of our staff.”

The action came after residents of Turkana South and East districts staged protests for alleged failure by Tullow Oil Company to offer them job opportunities and tenders.

Led by area legislators James Lomenen (Turkana South) and Nicholas Ng’ikor (Turkana East), they marched to the Twiga 1, Etuko and Ngamia 1 oil well sites to protest over lack of opportunities that could economically empower the locals.

They accused Tullow Oil and associate companies of short-changing them on employment, tenders and vehicle hire contracts in the oil camp.

The residents paralysed operations in major oil wells in Turkana South and East districts demanding the oil company to address their woes.

Tullow oil plc oil exploration job conflicts