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Kenya first announced the discovery of oil in Turkana by the British firm Tullow Oil in March 2012 and it has now been a decade since the government announced to Kenyans, a find that was expected to set the country on the path to riches within a few years.

Through these 10 years, the company has been able to assess that the deposits are of commercially viable quantities, and has been working on a field development plan that will usher in actual production.
The British firm Tullow has now said that it will be seeking a fresh extension from the Ministry of Energy on the deadline that had been set to produce the plan, signalling further delays in Kenya’s quest to join the league of oil producers.

The delays will cause further doubt for the ordinary Kenyan who had been promised a change in fortunes once the oil started to flow, as to whether the oil will ever be shipped or not.

So far it has been hard to know who between the government and Tullow is responsible for the delays for the details of the field plan have been limited. What is not in doubt though is that Kenya’s window to enjoy optimum returns from oil is closing fast.

It is now the government’s duty to bring this matter to a conclusion so that all stakeholders can get a chance to recoup their investments, and Kenyans to enjoy the resource at a time when every dollar coming into the country counts which means setting hard deadlines for the field development plan and ensuring that Tullow delivers.

By Jane Kibathi.