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Turkana MPs vow to block oil drilling, pipeline until Government honours pledges

By Alphonse Shiundu | March 23rd 2016

Nairobi: Turkana MPs have vowed to block oil drilling and the construction of pipeline until the government honours its promises on infrastructure, security, power, water, and jobs for people in the county.

The lawmakers said they will set up roadblocks to ensure that "not even a litre of oil will be transported" until their conditions are met. 

They said they have been barred from State House and have no way of making the Jubilee administration to honour its pledges.

The five MPs Christopher Nakuleu, James Lomenen, Daniel Nanok, Protus Akuja, and Nicholas Ngikor who addressed a news conference at Parliament Buildings said if the development projects are not implemented, then the oil which has been in existence "for a million years will remain there."

In 2012, Africa Oil and partner Tullow Oil first struck oil in Lokichar basin within Turkana whose recoverable reserves total an estimated 600 million barrels.

Tullow had in 2014 indicated that production of oil at the basin would start as early as 2016, but would initially be transported by road and rail.

Earlier this month, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said that Kenya aims to start small-scale crude oil production from Turkana fields next year and has commenced work on road and rail infrastructure that will be used to transport it.

"The production which we have talked with Tullow, with oil prices at $30, they will be able to produce about 2,000 barrels per day. But they are not going to go into full-scale production for commercialisation," Keter told a news conference.

Keter said they were proceeding with plans to start small scale production by 2017, and that roads connecting the oilfields to Eldoret were being improved, along with a railway from Eldoret to the port city of Mombasa.

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