President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed and AU envoy Raila Odinga

The government has started collecting views from the public on the planned crude oil pipeline running from Lokichar in Turkana County to Lamu.

The pipeline will be used to export crude oil produced in Turkana. The firms working on the oil project, together with the State, plan to build the 824-kilometre pipeline at an estimated cost of Sh100 billion.

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) last week called on the public to give views on the proposed pipeline that will traverse Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Garissa and Lamu counties. “The Authority invites members of the public and interested stakeholders to give their views on the proposed project at public hearing meetings,” said NEMA.

The meetings are scheduled at the Deputy Commissioner's offices at Lokichar (Turkana County), Garissa Government Guest House and the Kenya Forest Research Centre Institute in Lamu over the next two weeks.

The National Land Commission has already started acquiring land for the pipeline, which would be shared by other transport facilities along the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport corridor.

The land along the pipeline route is held by communities and individuals.

Additionally, Tullow Oil said it is also in the process of getting environmental licences for the Lokichar oilfields. The project has faced major delays.

While it had been expected to start oil production by next year, the timelines are hazy, with conditions yet to be fulfilled before it can commence.

“The joint venture partners are working closely with the Government of Kenya on securing approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and finalising the commercial framework for the project,” said Tullow.

The company had last year announced that it would reassess the development plan and design a project that is viable at low oil prices, following the significant drop in crude oil prices.

The firm had initially worked on a plan that factored in a breakeven point at $50 (Sh5,400) per barrel. However, following last year's crash in oil prices, the firm said it would consider a scenario where crude oil prices might stay low for an unforeseeable future.

While prices sunk to $17 (Sh1,850) per barrel on average in April last year, they have been on a steady rise over the months to the current levels of about $70 (Sh7,800) per barrel.

The firm said it would review the plan while taking a cautious approach to Kenyan development.

Tullow chief executive on Tuesday told investors the company would provide more details in the second half of this year on the Kenyan project.

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