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KenGen yet to decide if it is time to pull workers out of Ethiopia

By Antony Gitonga | November 7th 2021
By Antony Gitonga | November 7th 2021

Engineers from Kengen work on one of the largest well in Olkaria which is 3km deep and has the capacity of producing 30mw. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is assessing the security situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region before deciding whether to withdraw 200 Kenyans drilling geothermal wells in the neighbouring country.

KenGen Communication Manager Frank Ochieng’ said they were working closely with the government as they monitor the situation.

Mr Ochieng’ said all the workers in the two sites were safe and drilling was going on as planned even as reports emerged of communities fleeing the affected regions.

“We are assessing the situation but remain hopeful that the authorities in the two countries will speedily find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” he said.

This came as some of the workers expressed concern over the escalating clashes in the country involving government forces and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Already, Ethiopian Cabinet has declared a nationwide state of emergency, cut communication in some parts of the country as the government called on residents to arm themselves.

Currently, KenGen is drilling 520MW in Tulu Moye in the Oromia Regional State and also in Aluto–Langano.

A worker who spoke to The Sunday Standard yesterday on condition of anonymity said they were working in fear following reports that the clashes had intensified.

“We are working as planned at various drilling sites but our fear is what might happen if the war intensifies and the airport is closed,” said the worker.

The National Police Service has issued a statement saying that the unrest in Ethiopia could adversely impact operations in Kenya and on the borders.

“The National Police Service has heightened security on the Kenyan border and citizens are advised to be vigilant and cautious in their surroundings,” read the statement in part.

Earlier, KenGen MD Rebecca Miano said that Sh700 million geothermal project in Ethiopia had entered a crucial stage.

In February 2019, KenGen won a joint contract with Shandong Kerui Petroleum Equipment Company and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group to offer geothermal drilling services.

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