The Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (KCSPOG) has reignited calls for the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) pilot scheme to be cancelled all together days after the government and other joint partners shelved plans for the scheme to commence in July.
According to the lobby platform issues addressed in its earlier report are yet to be addressed such as the profitability of the project as well as lack of necessary infrastructure making the project unfeasible. KCSPOG argues that the use of an Early Oil Pilot Scheme is not necessarily standard practice in the petroleum development as demonstrated by Tullow Oil which abandoned similar plans in Uganda.
KCSPOG argues that the July evacuation would have been met by more risks resulting from election related violence in some counties through which the trucks would have to pass, heightening the risks associated with blocked roads and sabotage of the tankers, high and unmet expectations from the local communities particularly given the nascent conflicts that emerged around revenue sharing between national and sub-national governments and poor infrastructure development that would require a substantial investment in upgrades and development.
The lobby has further poured cold water on the EOPS kicking off in September citing factors that it is difficult to determine when the Petroleum Bill will be passed as Parliament and its committees may only be fully constituted in September making it too optimistic to imagine that the new National Assembly would then pass the Petroleum Bill in September to allow for the EOPS to begin in September. This is as particularly so given the fact that one of the issues that had held up the passage of the Bill is disagreements around the revenue sharing model between national government and county governments.
“After a general election, a Bill has to begin its passage through Parliament afresh. And the constitutional requirement of public participation must not be overlooked,” KCSPOG coordinator Charles Wanghuhu cites in a statement.
In the meantime the KCSPOG has thereby called on the government to;
- Reconsider the Early Oil Pilot Scheme through a well thought out cost and benefit analysis that takes into account the targeted production levels and the oil price. The government has been asked to instead concentrate on full field development as the EOPS, aside from ‘testing’ the market, is not economically viable.
- Finalise the Petroleum Bill through a process that ensures effective participation of the public , local communities and county governments
- Publicly disclose any production sharing contracts related to full field development and the EOPS. This would assist in managing the expectations of the local communities and the national citizenry
- Work with Tullow, county governments and CSOs to ensure meaningful public participation in decisions on EOPS as required by law on the EOPS and its potential impact on the local community
It is however worth noting that the KJV has already awarded contracts relating to the early oil pilot scheme and a cancellation could lead to losses to all the parties and perhaps legal battles all together.