Oil and Security in Kenya (updated)

Ratio Magazine, “Kenya Oil Find:  Good News?”:

  • Turkana has just become a lot riskier: It is already a marginal, underdeveloped area with relatively high insecurity. If the recent clashes in Isiolo, underreported and often glossed over as inter-ethnic cattle rustling, are anything to go by, similar tensions may well surface in Turkana.
  • Kenya’s land titling and overall land management regime is notoriously corrupt and unreliable and also a perennial source of conflict. This will be worse in Turkana. The implementation of the new constitution with its transition from a central to a more devolved government on country level creates more uncertainty: Not all regulations and institutions have been fully set up. Throw oil, a marginal area and informal land rights into this and you have a potentially explosive situation.
  • Kenya’s political risk: The past few days, with the GEMA meeting putting the country on notice that peace and security may well depend on one individual, are just one of many reminders that the issues that pushed Kenya to the brink of a Cote d’Ivoire style scenario are far from being resolved. Oil tends to increase the premium on power. Thankfully, with production at least five to seven years off, this means that Kenya will have at least one, possibly two electoral cycles until oil revenues start flowing.

The latest from Petroleum Africa: “Africa Oil and Tullow Oil Hit More Kenyan Pay“:

Tullow’s exploration director Angus McCoss, said:”This ongoing wildcat is an excellent start to our exploration campaign. The net pay encountered so far in Ngamia-1 is more than double that encountered in any of our East African exploration wells to date. We now look forward to the drilling and evaluation of the deeper potential of this well and the acceleration of our seismic and drilling campaigns in the region.”

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