KeNHA in Sh3.1bn Lokichar road upgrade ahead of early oil export

The Ngamia rig site in northern Kenya. [Photo/]

The government has embarked on a Sh3.2 billion project to upgrade the road between Eldoret and Lokichar ahead of evacuation of early oil in mid 2017.

The upgrading of the 297 kilometer road is expected to ease the flow of crude oil from the Lokichar Basin to the storage facility at the Kenya Petroleum Refinery Limited plant in Mombasa.

“This section of the road will facilitate the movement of early crude oil and other goods and services as the government of Kenya embarks on reconstructing the whole road,” the Kenya National Highways Authority said in a statement.

The project has been broken down into seven sections given to an equal number of contractors to ensure the speedy completion of the road.

The government has been pushing the early oil pilot scheme in an effort of testing the viability of the crude oil.

Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau the pilot project will give all stakeholders invaluable knowledge as Kenya moves towards becoming an oil producing nation.

“The early oil pilot scheme will provide important technical well data that will greatly assist in planning for full field development. This data will help operators of the project understand the behavior of oil reservoirs and how they transform as they produce oil,” Mr Kamau said in October.

British oil explorer Tullow has already called for expressions of interest from transporters keen on moving oil.

Kenyan crude oil is considered waxy and expected to be kept in a heated state during transportation.

Tullow has at the same time called for an expression of interest from companies to lease insulated containers to be used in the transportation of the crude oil.

The government has at the same time begun engaging potential buyers in the Middle East ahead of the commercialization of the country’s oil.

The Ministry of Energy and Tullow officials have stressed that the government is unlikely to make money from the early oil project, but maintains its necessary in gauging the viability of the local crude.

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