Fresh talks to resolve oil dispute start
Posted Thursday, June 14 2012 at 18:05
The Energy ministry and Turkana County Council have entered into fresh negotiations to resolve a dispute over oil exploration rights and sharing of revenue.
A team from the council and the ministry’s officials met to avert a protracted dispute that had threatened to derail further exploration by Tullow Plc, the company behind the discovery of oil in the country.
“The disagreement has been caused by lack of smooth flow of information from the Energy ministry and Tullow Company to the civic authority which is the custodian of the land on behalf of the community,” explained Dr Ekuru Aukot, a legal officer to the council.
The council team led by its chairman, Mr Eliud Kerio Lonngacha and Dr Aukot met Tullow executives together with the Commissioner of Petroleum, Mr Martin Heya, on Wednesday, to draw new terms of commercial oil exploration in the semi-arid area.
Dr Aukot said the civic authority would shelve its plans to stop the process in court if the government and Tullow agreed to sign fresh terms with the council on behalf of the community.
Dr Aukot said that a stakeholders meeting will be held in Lodwar next week to sensitise the community on the way forward.
Differences between the civic authority and Tullow escalated last week when the council barred its contractors from going on with oil exploration at Twiga 1 — the second drilling well after Ngamia 1 at Nakukulas area in Turkana South, where the company discovered oil early this year.
Mr Heya has maintained that an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out and the report forwarded to the Turkana South District Commissioner’s office before the start of the oil exploration.