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Kenya’s senate wants proposed refinery site changed

Kenyan senators have voiced their opposition on the proposed oil refinery site in Isiolo saying it should be located at any county bordering the sea.

The former government had come up with the site to keep it closer to the oil wells in Turkana and in consideration of oil expected to come from South Sudan for export through the Lamu port.

Former foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula who is currently the Bungoma senator now favors Mombasa or Lamu to ensure that refined crude oil is easily exported.

Wetangula adds that placing the refinery in Isiolo adds the risk should the pipeline malfunction.

“The practice around the world has been to have oil refineries near the sea because that makes more economic sense. The decision to have it in Isiolo was ill-informed,” he said.

The sentiments have not been received well by Isiolo senator Mohammed kuti who argued that the decision to locate the refinery in the town was due to its central point and its ease to access from both south Sudan and Ethiopia.

Another senator Bonny Khalwale also called for a review of the decision saying that the choice lacked sufficient consultation even as opposing voices termed Wetangula’s turnaround hypocritical having participated in the last cabinet.

Other senators say the location of the refinery should be guided by both international customer accessibility although a feasibility study was necessary.

It is however unclear whether the senators were of the knowledge that the quality of the crude oil discovered by Tullow Oil in Northern Kenya has very low pour point (as revealed by oilnewskenya) and it would mean increased costs if the refinery was located in Lamu.

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