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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Local Constituency Threatens To Block Kenyan Oil Shipments

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The Turkana South constituency in Kenya will block the transport of crude shipments to Mombasa in June if capital and employment grievances go unaddressed, according to new reports emerging from the region. The shipment is scheduled to be the nation’s first ever.

Residents of the area have said they would physically block trucks headed to the capital if the federal agreement does not include a deal regarding revenue sharing, jobs, and infrastructure development.

"The community is saying that they will protest and will barricade all roads to prevent any transportation of oil,” according to John Ekai Erica, who founded the Turkana Empowerment Advocacy Group (TEAG). “They are saying that they know the Government will use force against them but they will not be cowed. They will stand their ground and prevent any oil from being transported out of the county.”

The people living around the oil-rich Turkana Basin demand that locals be hired to work at the new Lokichar field and that the local government benefit from the crude profits.

"We must participate as employees in the transportation of oil from Lokichar to Mombasa. What will be our share as a host community?" they said, adding that proper compensation in case of an oil spill should be discussed before the first shipment reaches Mombasa in June.

President Uhuru Kenyatta approved a five percent revenue sharing plan with the Turkana field, but the residents demand that the proportion rise to 10 percent.

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"We are demanding a 10 per cent community share and not five per cent. We will only allow the crude oil to leave Turkana land upon establishment of a legitimate petroleum law," read the official petition circulated by TEAG.

Residents in the town of Kasuroi, which sits just south of Turkana, blockaded a road linking Kitale to Lodwar due to alleged discrimination in hiring practices by oil companies active in the area.

The South Lokichar field is being explored and developed by a joint venture between three companies. It is estimated that there are about a billion barrels of oil in the Lokichar area, discovered in 2012.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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