I’m sure You have heard the phrases ‘Curse of Oil’ the ‘Dutch Disease’ or the ‘Resource Curse’. Basically this is the Paradox of plenty where naturally wealthiest Countries are usually the most destitute, oppressed and underdeveloped Home to some of the poorest and most depressed People on Earth. This is characteristic to
all naturally wealthy Nations especially in Africa and even across the World.
Oil in itself is historically quite a delicate and hotly contested Resource and Matter. Oil is the World’s largest and most important source of Energy; Essentially Oil is the Engine or rather the Lifeblood of the Global Economy. The World’s biggest Economies which also happen to be the most industrialized and powerful Nations primarily rely on Oil to run and manage their dynamic Economies which explains why they happen to be at the Center of every Single Oil Block and Oil Well across the World.
China which is currently the most industrialized Nation in the World produces 3.8 Million Barrels of Oil daily; In turn it consumes 13 Million Barrels of Oil daily. The U.S.A which is the World’s biggest Economy produces 13.1 Million Barrels of Oil daily; In turn it consumes 19 Million Barrels of Oil daily. Africa as a Whole produces 9 Million Barrels of Oil daily; In turn it only consumes 4 Million Barrels daily.
Note: 1 Barrel equals 159 Litres.
Before I introduce you to East Africa Oil breakthrough let us have a moment of Silence for the Republic of Venezuela which has the World’s largest Oil Reserve with a whopping 303 Billion Barrels of Proven Oil Reserve and the Republic of Libya which has the largest Oil Reserve in Africa with 48 Billion Barrels of Proven Oil Reserve.
Libya is still embroiled in Civil War since 2011 with Venezuela now teetering to a Civil War. We must not forget the Oil War and Unrest experienced/being experienced in Iraq, Syria and Niger Delta in Nigeria. All these boil down to the Oil Question and Control happening under the guise of Political Power Struggle under the Machinations of Giant Foreign Capitalists and Imperialists.
The 1st of August 2019 Announcement by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta that Kenya has now joined the League of Oil exporting Countries in the World with an initial Consignment of 200,000 Barrels of Crude Oil Export valued at Ksh.1.2 Billion has elicited mixed reactions, responses, emotions and expectations across the Country as Kenyans seek and try to interpret, understand and make sense of what this News actually means. Discovery of Commercial Oil in any Country is usually expected to lower the means and cost of production which directly translates to low Cost of Living and improved Standards of Living to its Citizenry.
The discovery of Viable Oil in Kenya was made in 2012 making it the Second East African Nation with Proved Oil Resource after Uganda who discovered theirs in 2006 and South Sudan whose first Oil Block was discovered in 1978 long before its Independence from the main Sudan.
Impeccable Reports have it that Kenya has over 1 Billion Barrels of Proven Oil Reserve and 750 Million Barrels of Recoverable Oil or Commercially Viable Oil within Turkana area. The main developers in this Project being Britain’s Tullow Oil Company alongside France’s Total and Canada’s Oil Corp Companies who are currently extracting 2000 Barrels daily with Production Sharing Agreement remaining a Top Secret between Kenyan Government and the Developers as maintained by Petroleum and Mining Minister John Munyes until August 16,2019 when the Kenyan Government finally revealed its deal with a UK-based China Oil Refinery Company (ChemChina UK Limited) who bought the first Crude Oil Export Consignment flagged offf on August 26,2019 by President Kenyatta at the Port of Mombasa. Uganda on the other hand has 6.5 Billion Barrels of Proven Oil Reserve and 2.2 Billion Barrels of Recoverable/Commercially Viable Oil with its main developers being Britain’s Tullow Oil alongside China’s CNOOC, France’s Total and Italy’s Saipem SPA Companies. Uganda is yet to start extracting Commercial Oil due to Disagreements with developers over Taxation and Production sharing Agreement. South Sudan who have only explored 30% of their Total Oil Potential currently has 3.5 Billion Barrels of commercially Viable Oil. It’s currently producing 165,000 Barrels daily down from 350,000 Barrels that it used to produce shortly after its Independence in 2011-2012 before the Civil War/Unrest that broke out on December 2013. The main developers of Oil here are China, India, Malaysia with Russia and France also expressing their Interests.
The real Discord, Disarray and Disaster is in how these Three Oil Nations in East Africa do or intend to do with their Crude Oil in terms of Refinery, Value Addition and Value Proposition.
With East Africa’s Sole Oil Refinery Plant KPRL (Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited) in Changamwe-Mombasa Kenya inoperative since 2013 with all efforts to Revive and Modernize it Vain; Kenya like South Sudan has started its Oil Business with exporting Oil in its Crude form.
Kenyan Government Officials seem to be reading from different Pages on the Issue of Oil Refining. On January 2018, the then Industrialization Minister Adan Mohamed said it makes more sense to build a new Oil Refinery than to revive and modernize KPRL which he termed as a very old Facility adding that Deliberations for a new Oil Refinery were on course. Just recently on February 2019 the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum Andrew Kamau ruled out the possibility to construct a new local Oil Refinery saying such an expensive Capital-intensive Project would not make Economic Sense going with the current Crude Oil production capacity of 2000 Barrels daily not even in the expected daily Optimum of 80,000-100,000 Barrels.
The now defunct KPRL Refinery that has a daily capacity of refining 80,000 Barrels of Crude Oil is being used to store Crude Oil before Exportation. Its proposed Ksh.120 Billion revival and upgrade plan in 2013 was abandoned never to be reconsidered again even when Kenya acquired its full Ownership on June 2016. Kenya has since KPRL Closure in 2013 been purely relying on imported refined Petroleum Products and it seems this will be the case as its Oil Business starts in Crude Oil exportation.
Uganda on April 2018 signed a Deal with a Consortium of American and Italian Firms to construct a $4 Billion (Ksh.412 Billion) 60,000 Barrels ‘Hoima Crude Oil Refinery’ by 2023. It has in this invited its EAC Neighbors to buy Shares in this Refinery. Kenya and Tanzania have actually taken up Shares in this with Tanzania taking 8% and Kenya taking 2.5% .The rest have remained silent on this forcing Uganda to to take up the Shares it had offered them. France’s Total has consequently come into this taking up 10% with the majority 60% being left for other Foreign and Private Investors. Uganda intends to refine about 11,000 Barrels of Oil for its daily Domestic Use and Export the Excess.
At the declared Rate of Extraction Kenya and Uganda’s proven Oil Reserves are expected to take at least 55 Years to deplete.
South Sudan on the other hand continues to export all its Crude Oil to Sudan’s Khartoum
Refinery before exporting it via Port Sudan. South Africa is in an advanced Process of signing an Agreement with the Government of South Sudan to construct a 60,000 Barrels daily Oil Refinery at a Cost of $1 Billion.