Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has confirmed that the government is currently conducting a forensic audit of Tullow Oil operations in South Lokichar Basin.
This is after top elected leaders from Turkana County comprising of all MPs, Governor Josphat Nanok and his deputy Peter Lotethiro last month held a meeting in Lodwar town where they demanded for the audit, citing limited information on petroleum activities by the British oil exploration company.
Mr Munyes said they are auditing all the spending incurred by Tullow Oil since exploration started in the county.
“We have kicked off a forensic audit of the project so that we determine how much Tullow Oil has legally spent. The audit is ongoing and by September we want to ensure that all challenges that have been affecting the project are resolved,” Mr Munyes said.
He confirmed that operations in the oil fields have been scaled down.
He cautioned Tullow Oil that the State will be forced to look for another investor if the company does not do its work as expected.
“We all know that we have crude oil that is only waiting to be produced. The sole authority is with the State,” Mr Munyes said.
But he remained optimistic that the ongoing talks between his ministry and Tullow Oil to ensure the resumption of the project will be fruitful.
He said that Turkana South Sub-County is banking on the petroleum activities to revive its economy.
He noted that some of the critical projects that locals are banking on include a water pipeline from Turkwel Dam to the oil fields.
“Governor Nanok challenged me to expedite the water pipeline project from Turkwel Dam to central processing unit in South Lokichar Basin so that communities living along the pipeline in Turkana South Sub-County benefit from free water supply. I will push for the project but I also call for the cooperation of all leaders and locals if the project has to be successful,” Mr Munyes said.
The leaders complained that even the Turkana Grievance and Management Committee that was supposed to furnish them with information has also been left in dark.
Before Tullow Oil scaled down operations due to floods and the Covid-19 pandemic, together with Africa Oil, Total Kenya and the government, they had formed a consortium that is steering the country into full field development phase under Project Oil Kenya.