Ex-energy PS, Senator eye lucractive power sale deal

Former Energy Principal Secretary Patrick Nyoike and former Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina. [File, Standard]

A company with ties to former Kibaki-era officials is seeking to sell geothermal power to Kenya Power.

Africa Geothermal International Ltd (AGIL) has inked a multi-billion-shilling deal with Indonesian electricity producer PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy Tbk (PGE) to explore and produce geothermal electricity in Longonot, Naivasha.

AGIL directors include former long-serving Energy Principal Secretary Patrick Nyoike and former Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina.

Mr Maina was also a long-serving Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency. He is also the founder and owner of the construction firm, Kirinyaga Construction.

Mr Nyoike’s involvement in the deal is likely to raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest, as he wielded huge influence over the energy sector during his time in government.

The lucrative nature of previous independent power producer deals has raised concerns in the recent past about the impact on consumer electricity bills. Kenyans will watch closely to see if this deal translates into affordable and reliable power.

Mr Nyoike served in various government dockets, including Treasury, Planning, and Energy over a four-decade stint.

He was appointed PS in charge of the Energy docket in 2023 after former President Kibaki became President in 2002. AGIL was registered in 2010, three years before Mr Nyoike quit his PS role following the entry of the Uhuru Kenyatta regime.

Other directors of AGIL include Brian Mitchell (United Kingdon), lawyer Fred N’cruba Ojiambo, former National Bank of Kenya chairman Mohammed Abdirahman Hassan, Christopher David Thompson, (United Kingdom)  and Fassine Fofana Fofana Fassine (France).

The Standard could not immediately get a comment from the company by press time.

United Kingdom’s Fnb Nominees Limited and British Virgin Islands-registered Africa Geothermal International (Bvi) Limited are listed as shareholders.

Geothermal field

The Indonesian company, a unit of Indonesian State energy firm Pertamina officials, said in a statement seen by The Standard that the deal would accelerate geothermal field development in Kenya.

The firms plan to start exploring the Longonot geothermal fields in the Rift Valley this year with a project completion date of 2027, it said. The preliminary deal between the Indonesian and Kenyan firms was first done on August 22, 2023, when PGE and AGIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Indonesia’s foreign affairs minister Retno Marsudi valued the  Pertamina deal with Agil at about $700 million (Sh92 billion).

PGE said its agreement with AGIL is aimed at developing the Longonot concession in Kenya which could yield up to 500 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power, of which 140MW is ready to be exploited. “During the visit to Nairobi, Julfi Hadi also led a PGE delegation in separate meetings with AGIL directors Patrick Nyoike and Ephraim Maina,” said the Indonesian firm.

It said PGE and AGIL have also agreed on several technical aspects, including the establishment of a joint venture to develop the Longonot field.

It further revealed that PGE and AGIL have agreed to a power purchase agreement of 140 MW, and for the initial phase, PGE will conduct exploration drilling of 35 MW targeted to be on stream by 2027.

“To accelerate the implementation of this agreement, the parties will sign a definitive agreement after obtaining internal corporate approvals,” said PGE President and Director Julfi Hadi.

The deal will be subject to regulatory approvals, the company added. Mr Nyoike was born on 30th September 1947.

He holds a Bachelor’ of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Ghana and a degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi.

Mr Nyoike was appointed to the Civil Service as a statistician at the Central Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Between 1974 and 1978, he was posted to the Ministry of Planning and Development as a planning officer at the National Council of Science and Technology.

In 1978, he was posted to the Ministry of Power and Communications as the Senior Economist in charge of the Policy Analysis and Planning Division.

In 1982, he became the Principal Economist and Head of the Policy Analysis and Planning Division in the Ministry of Energy.

Policy Analysis Division

Between 1987 and 1989 Mr Nyoike was the Deputy Chief Economist and Head of the Planning and Policy Analysis Division at the Ministry of Energy after which he moved to the Ministry of Finance, Department of Fiscal and Monetary Affairs as the Head of Economic Coordination Division.

Between 1991 and 1993, Nyoike was posted back to the Ministry of Finance as the Chief Economist and Head of the Economic Policy Unit after which he was seconded to the Ministry of Energy as the Chief Economist and coordinator of the Energy Sector and Power Development Project co-financed by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

He served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy during the Kibaki era.

During this time he was a Director of the state corporations within the Ministry of Energy, namely Kenya Pipeline Company Ltd, Kenya Electricity Generating Company Ltd, National Oil Corporation of Kenya, Energy Regulatory Commission, Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd, Ewaso Ngi’ro North Development Authority.

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