Kenyatta flagged off trucks loaded with crude oil from the Turkana oil fields in northwest Kenya as part of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOP).
“This flag-off event and the anticipated implementation of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme mark the beginning of a long and fruitful journey,” Kenyatta said.
Kenya has hoped the EOP scheme will establish the country as a crude oil exporter in the region and help gain information for future exploration and development.
Under the scheme, some 2,000 barrels of oil per day will be transported to Mombasa by road for eventual shipment.
The EOPS is being undertaken by the Kenyan government and the Kenya Joint Venture Partners comprising Tullow Oil, Africa Oil and Total Oil.
The East African nation struck oil in 2012 and has so far confirmed approximately 750 million barrels. Kenya is currently undertaking the EOPS before full field oil production commences in 2021.
Kenya in 2017 also signed an agreement for a feasibility study on a proposed pipeline to transport crude oil from the oilfields to Lamu.
Kenyatta said the initial petroleum exports will complement the country’s existing development projects under the Big Four Agenda, a five-year development plan to transform the lives of Kenyans through manufacturing, food security, universal health insurance and cheaper housing.
“My government will therefore focus on the development of our oil and gas sectors for the betterment of the economy and people,” Kenyatta said.
The president said the pilot scheme will also incentivize better road infrastructure in the region and spur electricity connectivity in Turkana.
Kenya’s oil production has made it a front runner in the East African region that is eyeing a greater role in the global petroleum sector.
“With the discovery of oil and gas in Uganda and Tanzania and the ongoing explorations in Ethiopia and DRC, Kenya finds itself in the company of other resourceful African nations,” Kenyatta said.