Search for firms to design 892km Turkana-Lamu pipeline begins

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has started the search for a firm to design the planned 892 kilometre crude oil pipeline between Turkana and Lamu.

The Ministry said it has invited eight firms to bid for the job to undertake the Front End Engineering Design (FEED), which entail feasibility studies and an initial design, for the pipeline that will move crude from the oil fields in Lokichar to Lamu Port for export.

The engineering and design is expected to inform the specifications of the pipeline as well as how much it will cost the country. The Ministry however has in the past said the pipeline could cost as much as Sh200 billion.

Andrew Kamau, Principal Secretary for Petroleum said the Ministry last week invited eight companies to bid for the design job. The companies were selected from a pool of contractors that had submitted applications to be prequalified to undertake the FEED after the Ministry sent out a request for Expression of Interest (EOI) in 2016.

“The firms who made it through the expression of interest were invited to tender and these were a total of eight companies. They will be awarded the contract by end of April and take about eight to nine months to complete the FEED,” he said.

The Ministry had expected to award contract for the FEED mid last year, which would have paved way for the development of the pipeline later this year and scheduled for completion in 2020. Delay in securing a firm to design the pipeline could delay the commencement of building the pipeline, which could in turn delay the commercial oil export phase of the Turkana oil project.

PS Kamau said construction works on the pipeline would start next and take two years to be completed.

The delay was in part due to the time in negotiating and signing the Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between the Ministry and Tullow Oil together with its partners in the project in Lokichar. The JDA provided a legal framework for the development of the pipeline, setting out what the different roles for Government as well as the joint venture firms.

Other than the FEED, there are also plans to start Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), which is expected to start by end of March.

“The ESIA for the overall field development is on track to commence later in the first quarter of 2018,” said Tullow Oil in a trading update last week.

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