31 August 2013, Nairobi – Kenya expects the first draft of its revised laws on the petroleum sector to be ready for parliament’s approval by November, a senior government official said, as it prepares to tap its oil discoveries.
Oil finds in Uganda and gas offshore Tanzania and Mozambique have attracted more explorers to east Africa.
Tullow Oil and partner Africa Oil Corp have discovered oil in north west Kenya and are in the process of determining commercial viability. Kenya last updated its petroleum rules in 1986.
Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge told reporters late on Thursday that the draft would take about another three months to be ready for debate in parliament.
“We want to ensure that the law is thorough, it is all-encompassing, and there are no areas that would be left out,” he said.
The new law would also list new guidelines on natural gas exploitation, not adequately covered in the existing law.
Consultants Hunton & Williams and Challenge Energy – who the World Bank and the government hired to help with the review – have recommended the new laws include a clear delineation of roles in the policy making for the upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the sector to avert any overlaps and to reduce inefficiency.
Njoroge also said the government was optimistic it would get financiers to help build a pipeline to transport crude oil from Uganda to the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu on the Indian Ocean, where the government is planning to build a new port.
In June, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to cooperate on a pipeline route that could also eventually ship oil from South Sudan.
“There are very many interested players and firms which are willing to do the work and provide financing,” he said.
“What we will be doing is to try and come up with an expression of interest for all the interested players to compete, then we would be able to get the best players.”