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Tullow resumes oil trucking from Turkana as standoff ends

Thursday August 23 2018

Oil trucking

Trucks transporting crude oil from Lokichar in Turkana in June 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Oil trucking from Turkana to Mombasa has resumed after a two-month standoff brought about by protests by locals who were demanding jobs and enhanced security in the region.
The resumption began a day after residents who met with local leaders gave it a nod.

On Wednesday, Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, Turkana County Commissioner Seif Matata, Tullow Oil Company officials based in Turkana and MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South), Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleu and Mohammed Ali Lokiru (Turkana East) held meetings in Nakukulas, Lokichar and Kalemgorok centers to urge residents to allow the oil trucks to go to the coastal town.


"The community at oil fields and those along Lokichar-Kainuk road have agreed to let the trucks move out after we addressed several reservations and issues in the four meetings.

“The critical issues we addressed were local content, how all stakeholders will be engaging in case there is a disagreement as well as how the community will benefit when the country starts exporting the oil," Mr Munyes told journalists at Kalemngorok centre in Turkana South.

He said the government is keen on setting up a committee to handle grievances raised by the locals to avert future stalemates.


"Going forward, we want to establish a conflict resolution mechanism through the Turkana Grievances Management Committee that will be chaired by the county commissioner," the CS added.

By 7am Thursday, the Nation witnessed five trucks loaded with crude oil passing through Lokichar town as hundreds of residents watched.


Mr Lomenen said there should be adequate civic education on issues of oil in the region for the community to be better placed to make informed decisions.

He said the education will ensure Tullow Oil and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining will properly manage the high expectations among residents, noting that many hope that the oil discovery will help tackle their problems.

"We have accepted oil operations to resume but we expect our government and Tullow Oil to listen to CS Munyes and all leaders from Turkana when they raise issues about the community to avoid costly protests," Mr Lomenen said.

Tullow made losses running into millions of shillings during the standoff and at some point suspended its operations in the county.

But it resumed work two weeks ago following an improved operating environment.