Early oil exports to start in April
The Ministry of Energy now expects the first export of crude oil to be done in April, two months ahead of the intended June target.
According to ministry officials, 70,000 barrels of crude oil have already been stock piled, with the government now working on establishing potential export markets.
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The government plans to use the early oil project to gauge the viability of local oil, as well as build networks ahead of full scale commercialization in 2020.
Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said Tullow Oil has already expressed confidence in the Kenyan oil fields, giving the government confidence.
“Tullow and its partners have started drilling again and we have been informed that they have got good results,” Mr Keter said.
Kenya will initially export 2,000 barrels of oil on a daily basis as part of plans to test the global oil markets.
Already the government has sent samples to refineries in the middle east and Asia ahead of the trial run.
The country’s oil is classified as light and sweet, meaning it has less sulfur which generally fetches good prices as it is easy to refine.
The crude is however waxy and will need to be constantly heated during transportation and storage.
Oil will be trucked all the way from oil fields in Turkana to the Kenya Petroleum Refinery Limited (KPRL) storage facility in Mombasa from where it will be exported.
With prospects of increased oil reserves, Mr Keter is confident financing for a crude oil pipeline will be more feasible.
“From the 750,000 barrels we will get to a million. With a million now we are game in terms of the pipeline construction and that’s why the early oil project is important,” he said.
Kenya was forced back to the drawing board last year after Uganda pulled out of a joint pipeline deal in favor of exporting its oil through Tanzania.