Tullow seeks new partners to drive Kenya oil project

Tullow Kenya Managing Director Madhan Srinivasan and Tullow Oil CEO Rahul Dhir when they met NOC Chairman Kiraitu Murungi and CEO Leparan Morintat. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Tullow Oil Plc Chief Executive Officer Rahul Dhir has exuded confidence that Project Oil Kenya will be successful, saying that they are in discussions with some parties to join them as strategic investors.

Previous partners Total Energies and Africa Oil in May announced their withdrawal from the project.

“We are delighted, not just to be in Kenya, but also in the field, where we were given a warm welcome by all county and community leadership. We have seen a lot of traction and movement since the new government came in,” said Mr Dhir alongside the Tullow Kenya BV Managing Director Madhan Srinivasan when they met National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOC) Chairman Kiraitu Murungi and CEO Leparan Morintat.

“Tullow is 100 per cent committed to Project Oil Kenya. We are engaged in detailed discussions with a number of parties to come in as strategic partners," Tullow Oil Plc CEO said.

“We had very good engagements with the Ministry and the Turkana county government leadership. We are also very encouraged by the support the project enjoys in the community,” he added.

Tullow in March submitted the revised field development plan to Energy Regulatory and Petroleum Authority (EPRA), which is now reviewing it.

Kiraitu said, “Experts tell us that the Lokichar field asset is quantified at 462 million barrels of 2C recoverable resources."

He noted that with the state’s carry-in interest of 22.5 per cent share in the production sharing contract, NOC stands to earn approximately $8 billion at the current rate of $80 a barrel, an amount that will be enough to cut dependency on foreign aid and lift millions of Kenyans out of poverty.

“The benefits the country stands to receive in jobs, royalties and infrastructural development is a lot more,” he said.

While Kenya is endowed with considerable green energy resources, Kiraitu said, the country needs the financial inflow that solar or wind power cannot bring in.

Alluding to how Ghana used its oil find to power its economy, he expressed optimism that Kenya could leverage oil production to provide a financial cushion for the country.

“Accelerating our production in our oil field can generate $8 billion, which will move Kenya a long way in managing its external debts and helping solve other challenges,” Kiraitu said.

Morintat said Project Oil Kenya is the single most lucrative investment at the moment, and the sooner it is developed, the better for the country.

He assured that NOC will support Tullow and the Government to move faster to the production phase.

“NOC has considerable capacity which we shall deploy to help develop our country. We host one of the few globally recognized petroleum data centers in developing economies and we are in the process of equipping our geophysical and petrochemical laboratory which will be the only one of its kind in Africa,” he said.

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