Kenya has accumulated just 15 per cent of the targeted volumes of crude oil needed to start exports under the early oil pilot scheme.
On Tuesday, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) managing director Joe Sang said 31,983 barrels of oil had been received in Mombasa from Turkana with only five months left before the May target date for the first shipment.
“We had received some 227 trucks as at 31st October 2018 and we are expected to have the required volume of 200,000 barrels for initial crude export in May 2019,” Mr Sang’ told the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Energy.
The crude is being trucked from Turkana to the Kenya Petroleum Refineries tanks managed by the KPC in Mombasa. The trucking of crude apart from being faulted for being an expensive experiment has faced headwinds with community protests that stalled it barely two months after it was flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 3.
Petroleum Permanent Secretary Andrew Kamau who also appeared before the committee said the pilot scheme will help test the market for Kenya’s crude and production infrastructure.
“First, we have been able to establish the infrastructure needed to deliver equipment to Turkana and even more importantly, we are able to identify issues that would arise especially from the community when we make the major investment in the years to come. The protests that stalled the trucking in June were definitely a learning point, “Mr Kamau said.
The price for crude from Kenya and neighbouring Uganda has not yet been fixed. The product is light crude but is waxy, a drawback as it needs to be heated for transport to stay liquid.
But its extremely low sulphur content is an advantage. A 0.5 percent sulphur limit will be imposed on marine fuels from 2020 by the International Maritime Organisation, down from 3.5 percent.