Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) has on 8 November 2013 resumed operations in Block 10BB and Block 13T in Northern Kenya following successful dialogue with national and county government and leaders of the local community.
The suspension of operations announced last week allowed all parties to discuss and understand the complex operating environment in Northern Kenya and commit to taking the necessary action to allow exploration operations to resume.Further to these discussions, Tullow has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Minister for Energy. The MoU clearly lays out a plan for the Government of Kenya, county government, local communities in Northern Kenya and Tullow to work together inclusively over the long-term and to ensure that operations can continue without disruption in the future.
Tullow has about 2,100 employees in Turkana County alone and rents over 1,000 vehicles.“We had an agreement with Tullow that they will give tenders of supplying vehicles to our youth women and they got loans to buy tracks only to find out that tenders have already been awarded to some other people, how will these women repay their loans,” said Turkana South (Kenya) Constituency Member of Parliament James Lomenen.
Lomenen urged Tullow Oil plc to honor the agreement and adapt to the culture of the host community.“The suspension of operations announced last week allowed all parties to discuss and understand the complex operating environment in Northern Kenya and commit to taking the necessary action to allow exploration operations to resume,” said Deputy General Manager Sid Black.
Through the agreement, the company re-affirmed its commitment to local employment, local opportunities and transparency throughout its operations in Northern Kenya. “As Tullow’s exploration campaign progresses and gathers pace, the number of local employees and local companies involved in our work will continue to grow,” Black said.
The company suspended its operations as a result of demonstrations by the residents demanding to be employed at the company’s sites, including Ngamia 1 and Twiga 1, which are its biggest operations. Residents in the area had marched to the oil sites, demanding an explanation from Tullow president on the criteria the firm used to hire workers.
Recently, the company announced that the Ekales-1 wildcat, located in Block 13T had made a new oil discovery.
This is the fourth consecutive wildcat discovery, in the first oil basin opened in Northern Kenya, since drilling commenced in 2012.Results of drilling, wire line logs and samples of reservoir fluid indicated a potential net oil pay in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs of between 60 and 100 metres. The Ekales-1 well is located between the Ngamia-1 and Twiga South-1 oil discoveries and the reservoir properties at this location are similar to those previously encountered.