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Kenya Pipeline to compensate Kibwezi residents affected by oil spill next month

By James Wanzala | Published Sat, February 18th 2017 at 00:00, Updated February 17th 2017 at 21:30 GMT +3
An excavated area in Thange village in Kibwezi, Makueni County shows the depth of the oil spill in the area. PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD

Kenya Pipeline Company will from next month begin compensating residents of Thange valley in Kibwezi East Constituency who were affected by an oil leak two years ago.

KPC has already received 278 claim forms and the verification process will be complete by month end. Each of the claimants will receive payment through CIC Insurance. The insurance firm is also engaging with Panafcon - the company that carried out the impact assessment study in the area —with the aim of studying their report to establish if there are matters that need further clarification.

KPC’s Chairman John Ngumi yesterday met hundreds of Thange residents together with Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and other community leaders to resolve the matter. Mr Ngumi said the company has already spent Sh22 million in CSR support in terms of clean water, food aid, and bursaries for needy students from Thange.

“This CSR support will continue as per needs assessment as we strive to finish up the clean-up and the compensation process,” said Ngumi.

Governor Kibwana asked KPC to think about the possible long term effects of the spillage even as the compensation process begins. “As you compensate the affected persons, it will be important that we take into account the long term health and environmental effects of this spillage so that if someone is affected several years down the road, they can still be considered,” Prof Kibwana said.

Ngumi urged those who haven’t filled the claim forms to do so as soon as possible so that they are considered in Phase 2 of the compensation process. He said that 322 forms that residents have picked from the Deputy County Commissioner’s office in Kibwezi are yet to be returned. He observed that KPC is committed to expedite compensation for residents whose lives were affected by the incident.

The ageing Nairobi-Mombasa pipeline passes through Thange. The 14-inch Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline was constructed in 1978 and has been in operation for 39 years, way beyond its 25 year useful life.

Being the only pipeline that feeds the country and its neighbours, it has to be kept in operating state through constant repairs and inspection. But the 450km Mombasa – Nairobi pipeline is currently being replaced to meet the region’s future petroleum needs. The new line, a Vision 2030 Sh48 billion project, will include fire-fighting systems in new stations, installing energy efficient equipment and pipeline monitoring technology to ensure easy spotting of damages on the line.

The project is well underway and will be ready for commissioning this year.


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