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Economy

Kenyans to wait until 2025 for oil billions

Andrew Kamau
Petroleum and Mining PS Andrew Kamau during a briefing session at a Nairobi hotel on February 19, 2019. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Kenyans will have to wait until after 2025 for petrodollars from Turkana oil fields to start trickling in after the government extended the exploration timeline for Tullow.

The British oil explorer yesterday said it had been granted another 15 months for exploration phase of the Turkana oil project, essentially pushing ahead production timelines and delaying the long awaited Final Investment Decision (FID).

Tullow, in a statement accompanying its half year results to June 2020, said the extension was part of the deal that led to its lifting of a force majeure on the project last month.

It said it had suspended its intended sale of stake on the project without specifying its next move on the intended farm down for a 50 percent shareholding in blocks 10BB and 3T in the Turkana oil fields.

“Kenya has agreed to an initial extension to the second additional exploration period... with a final extension until 31 December 2021. Separately, the farm down process has been suspended while the joint venture partners complete a comprehensive review of the development concept to ensure it continues to be robust at low oil prices, and also consider the strategic alternatives for the asset,” Tullow said in a statement.

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The move now pushes further away the timelines for the project that had originally been set for 2021 before several extensions.

Tullow whose half year net earnings dropped 138 percent to a loss of $1.3 billion (Sh140.9 billion, will need to source funds together with the Kenyan government to build a pipeline after the investment decision is made.

This will be followed by another 38 months to build the Lamu-Lokichar pipeline, effectively putting Kenya’s first yield from the oil resources beyond 2025.

The Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas said the new change of timeline reveals how slow the project has been progressing closer to the production phase and risks its future prospects as more delay may hurt its attractiveness for investments in the long run.

Tullow had initially planned to make its Final Investment decision in 2019 but the move was pushed to late 2020 before the latest extension, adding to the slippery path to Kenya oil riches.

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