Govt delays resumption of oil trucking

The government has pushed back plans to resume oil transport from Turkana to Mombasa scheduled for tomorrow as it meets Tullow officials to come up with a return to work formula.

This eve as the two week shutdown of transportation activities has already seen the government billed Ksh100 million for the delays.

Petroleum cabinet secretary John Munyes said further disruptions to the early oil pilot scheme runs the risk of diminishing proceeds from future oil revenue as the oil explorer takes a more cautious approach to its activities.

“We want to get a return work formula that shows how to engage. We want a structured approach that will ensure next time it happens, they bring their grievances to the table. It is very expensive to shut down,” Mr Munyes said during an interview.

Turkana residents have backed the government into a corner pushing for improved security and better understanding of the five percent local revenue share.

But the government has been quick to caution are residents that they risked losing out on the black gold fortunes if they continued disrupting Tullow Oil operations.

“I want to challenge the Turkana people and tell them that we are actually losing money that will be deducted from us,” he said.

Last week the CS met with Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and local leaders and agreed to resume road trucking of the oil on Wednesday.

However with Tullow having slowed its activities in the area and sent home most of its staff, the trucking is likely to take longer to resume.

Mr Munyes however said the government, Tullow and local leaders need a new approach to mute expectations from residents to avoid further disruptions.

This, as residents expect a quick windfall from oil sales despite the fact Tullow is yet to make a final investment decision.

Already the government is mulling plans to set up a sovereign fund to manage oil revenues, with focus on using the proceeds to develop Turkana County rather than disbursing it to individuals.

“That five percent will be determined by the leadership but it has been over politicized. Half the team in Turkana are saying let’s pay this money to people’s pockets. But I want something good that is going to help the people of Turkana for a longer time,” the CS said.