Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has said that oil exploration is still on in Kenya and that Tullow Oil has not withdrawn from the country as it is been alleged by some people.
Speaking to journalists, Mr Munyes said oil production and transportation were slightly hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic and natural calamities like floods.
He said these challenges stopped the early oil pilot scheme (EOPS) after the road connecting Turkana and West Pokot was swept away by heavy floods and landslides, disconnecting the A1 road. He also cited challenges in the global oil market.
In addition, CS Munyes said they have formed a consortium of players known Project Oil Kenya comprising Africa Oil, Total Kenya, Tullow Oil and the national government which will see Kenya realise its dream of joining oil exporting countries in the world.
But Mr. Munyes said that if Tullow wishes to withdraw from the consortium, then it will sell its shares to a company of its choice.
CS Munyes was responding to rumours that Tullow has closed its operations in the oil basin, reduced its staff and stopped the EOPS operations.
Currently, the national government is looking at a bigger plan for the oil exploration between 2022 and 2023.
It intends to deal with bigger companies like Total Kenya, Shell, or Chinese companies which will produce the oil on a large scale and which will be transported to Lamu through the pipeline whose plan is underway.
Gabriel Ekalale, the CEO of Asegisi, a community based organisation that deals with environmental issues at the oil basin, says residents of Turkana should be involved in the transition period when a new company takes over at the oil basin. This, he says, will help avoid more complications from the community as it happened with Tullow in the past.