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We're going it alone on oil pipeline, says Energy CS Charles Keter

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter (right) with Senate Energy Committee Chairman Gideon Moi (centre) and member Ali Chiaba after a meeting on Tuesday. [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO]

Kenya will independently construct an oil pipeline after Uganda opted for a Tanzania route, a Senate team heard yesterday.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter told the Senate Energy Committee the Government plans to construct its own crude oil pipeline from Lokichar in Turkana County to Lamu port for refinery through two transit routes.

He said the Government was also open to revival of a deal it had with South Sudan and Ethiopia, who had approached Kenya for a joint oil pipeline programme, long before the Uganda deal was mooted.

And for the first time, Keter revealed the hostilities Kenya faced from Tanzanian authorities as officials discussed the Uganda deal.

Alternative Routes

“We went to Tanzania with our technical team and we were kept there for a long time. The Tanzanian authorities gave us two options – either to reschedule the meeting or leave them to continue with negotiations with Uganda,” he said.

Keter told the House committee his ministry was now considering two alternative routes for transportation of crude oil. The northern route involves the construction of a pipeline from Lokichar to Lamu while the southern route entails transportation of crude oil from Lokichar by road to Eldoret, from where it can be ferried by rail to Mombasa.

Senate committee chairman Gideon Moi urged Keter to consider taking the Senate committee on an aerial tour of the pipeline route.

Keter said the road-rail southern route would help ferry about 2,000 barrels of crude oil daily and will be implemented by June next year.

He told the committee that he had presented a memo to the Cabinet on the proposed two routes.

The CS told the committee that Ethiopia and South Sudan had earlier approached Kenya for partnership in oil pipeline construction before the Uganda deal and the Government is considering the two countries’ request. “The first negotiation on pipeline construction was with South Sudan before Uganda came in in 2013. We are also engaging Ethiopia after they approached us to set up a joint oil pipeline because it has not completed its Djibouti one,” said Keter.

Keter dismissed the excuses raised by Uganda that the Kenya route to Lamu would be too dangerous and open to possible attack by Al-Shabaab, saying stringent security measures would be put in place to secure the line.

Kitui Senator David Musila had demanded to know what measures the Government had in place to secure the line.

“There are plans for a military base between Kiunga and Boni forest while we will also be using drones to monitor the line,” assured Keter.

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