The government failed to meet key milestones in the last six months of 2019 that would have hastened the country’s realisation of its dream to be an oil producer.
From tendering, Environmental Impact Assessment (Esia), commercial contract negotiations, to project financing negotiations and water and land agreements, the oil project has been dogged by delays.
Key government agencies, including the petroleum ministry, the National Land Commission and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), have been slow in decision-making.
Project documents exclusively seen by the Nation reveal that the agencies missed deadlines, pushing back the Final Investment Decision (Fid) and wasting valuable time and money.
Regardless, the taxpayer will still have to cough up the hundreds of billions of shillings the project has already gobbled up.
The government failed to put in place a full negotiations team last September, which would have seen it sit at the table with Tullow Oil and its joint venture partners, Total and Africa Oil.
The documents show that as of October, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Authority (Lapsset) had not confirmed the availability of Berth 3 in Lamu to be exclusively used by the Kenyan oil pipeline from Lokichar.
The agreement on the storage solution at the port had not been reached either.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Nation that the Cabinet had already approved Berth 3 to be an exclusive oil dock, allowing the design for a 900-kilometre Lokichar-Lamu pipeline to end at the port.
“We hope to have berths 2 and 3 ready by the end of the year. The ministry has the Cabinet’s approval to take charge of Berth 3 and link it with the Lamu-Turkana pipeline to enable us to ship out our oil,” Mr Macharia said.
Between June and September last year, only two milestones on the project had been achieved, including the upstream feed design, which was updated with value engineering outputs.
The government also approved the midstream Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) strategy in August.