Turkana oil as no limited
Turkana oil find a blessing that calls for restrained celebration
on Monday, March 26 2012 at 20:01
After many past disappointments, it can now be said that Kenya has commercial quantities of oil, and this is great news for this nation; investors and the people of Turkana County.
Optimism was always there that Turkana was a good bet, based mainly by the geological similarity between the Turkana Rift and the Lake Albert Rift in Uganda where Tullow is now developing oil fields while prospecting for more oil. Tullow has had similar successes in Ghana
The quantity of oil as indicated has a “height” of over 20 metres (which is a good number) which when multiplied by the area of the well surface provides a rough estimate of oil reserves available in that particular well/reservoir .
The quality of oil is described as light, which means it has more of the valuable products when refined.
However, we shall wait to learn more about its “waxy” nature, for wax can negatively affect pumpability of crude oil.
Quality of oil from one well could be different from that from another well, and as such the “average” quality can only be known after more wells are drilled and evaluated.
Kenyans will, of course, be jubilant that the era of cheap oil is coming… Being an inland oil find, it will take no less than three years to develop the necessary infrastructure for oil production, pipelines and refinery to make products .
The Mombasa refinery is understood to have technical problems handling waxy crude oils unless the process units are modified.
It is a major coincidence that we have recently been talking about a crude oil pipeline from South Sudan passing through Turkana and destined to Lamu.
The Turkana oil discovery, coupled with prospects of oil finds on the Ethiopian side of the lake, will reinforce economic justification for the Lamu project which has a crude oil pipeline, an oil export jetty and a refinery.
It should not come as surprise if Ugandans connect to the same pipeline to Lamu, making it a true trans-national pipeline with many ready investors.
Kenya has recently gained experience from Uganda on what to do and what not to do in respect of new oil finds.
To ensure fast monetisation of the oil Kenya will need to ensure that correct policies, laws, regulations and institutions to manage the newly found resource are in place.