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Kenyan officials said oil from the Lokichar Basin will begin reaching foreign markets at a rate of 2,000 barrels of crude per day by July 2017, according to local news reports.
Coastweek cited Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, who told reporters at a press conference in Nairobi that the oil would come from the resource rich region in northern Kenya.
"The crude oil will be evacuated by road and rail as we wait for the completion of the oil pipeline by 2022," Waita commented as part of the release of Q2 petroleum development data for Kenya.
So far, the East African nation has confirmed 750 million barrels of recoverable crude oil in the basin, since the discovery became public in March 2012.
Waita said the government’s goal remains to exploit natural resources in order to improve the quality of public services, though the shortage of skilled oil workers challenges the rate of the sector’s growth in the nation.
"We want to ensure that the 160 technical vocational schools in Kenya can produce technicians who can increase the number of local experts in the oil sector," he said.
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The Kenyan Energy Ministry says that it maintains fuel supplies to cover citizens’ needs for up to 40 days in case of crisis. New discoveries could help increase that number to 90 days - keeping the country insulated from a global oil price crisis.
"The government is committed to investing in increasing the strategic petroleum reserves as well as to create a policy framework to allow the private sector to be involved in the sector," he said.
At peak production, the World Bank estimates Kenya’s oil sector could generate $9 billion in revenues or 16 percent of its revenues.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com