An interesting comment by Aidan Heavey [if quoted correctly] in reference to oil Tullow discovered in Kenya.
“If local roads were improved, Tullow could start producing from Kenya now, possibly trucking crude to the refinery in Mombasa,” Mr Heavey told Bloomberg at the side line of the company’s annual general meeting held in London Wednesday.
This is good news for Kenya since it means oil production (Twiga-1 and Ngamia-1)can start sooner than the projected 5-7 years. It may not be in large quantities at first but increase if (& when) additional wells come on-stream.
What makes sense for Kenya is to mandate [within the context of an equitable and transparent contract] the explorers like Tullow to build out the infrastructure. Whereas it may take some time for the Government of Kenya to get its act together to construct a road, the chances that Tullow will make it happen within a (much) shorter timeframe are much better. Tullow has a vested interest in building a good quality road to start trucking the oil to the Mombasa refinery.
The cost of construction can be paid from the proceeds due GoK from the sale of the crude oil and should be covered in the contract referred to earlier.
Apart from the proceeds from the sale of the oil, there are other benefits that accrue to Kenya(ns) as the transfer of skills starts early as do programs to train Kenyans in Oil Production Technology. The need for 'Roughnecks' will increase as more oil wells come on-stream & starting production in 2013-14 allows for many young Kenyans to get practical training in the industry.
Building a road (today) from Turkana to Mombasa requires labor & cement which is in plenty (excess capacity) in Kenya thus providing a welcome boost to the economy. Waiting for a debt-laden GoK to build the road may take a while.
Some may argue a pipeline is the better option but a road is required to open up Turkans so why not start with the Tullow Road while the plans, financing & installation of the pipeline is implemented?
Is anyone in GoK listening?
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