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The government of Kenya and the local subsidiary of Tullow Oil have agreed to resume oilfield operations in the northern Kenyan county of Turkana, where Tullow Oil shuttered operations last month amid security concerns and protests by the locals.
Kenya’s government and Tullow Oil have met to discuss the issue and “it was agreed that the operations of the ongoing oil development in Turkana County commence forthwith without undue delay,” John Mosonik, chief administrative secretary at Kenya’s Petroleum and Mining Ministry, said in a statement.
In early June, Kenya sent the first trucks transporting crude oil from the oil-rich but landlocked northern region of Turkana to the port of Mombassa, for the country’s first oil exports as part of a pilot export scheme. Under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme, 2,000 bpd will be transported to Mombasa by road for eventual shipment, Kenya said at the time.
Commercial quantities of crude oil in Kenya were discovered in 2012 in the South Lokichar Basin in the north. Tullow Oil, which discovered the resources, has continued its exploration and appraisal drilling campaigns in Kenya.
However, Tullow Oil stopped all operations in its Kenyan oil fields in July, citing unaddressed security fears as local hostility mounts. A few days earlier, Tullow Oil had threatened to shut down its oil wells in the Lokichar basin if the government does not act soon to remedy production, security, and transportation problems.
Now Kenya’s government and Tullow Oil agree to resume operations.
“The Government has further resolved to establish a two-tiered system framework that will provide communities living in Turkana county and Tullow Oil with avenues for addressing any emerging issues and concerns,” the Kenyan oil ministry said in its statement.
“Further, the Government of Kenya is committed to foster a harmonious, sustainable, stable and secure operating environment with regard to all operations around the oil, gas and mineral sectors in the Republic of Kenya,” says the ministry.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.