The Oil for Development programme in Kenya

Kenya’s only commercial oil discovery to date was made in 2012, in the South Lokichar Basin in Turkana county.

Recoverable reserves are currently estimated to constitute 560 million barrels. In August 2019, the first shipment of oil was exported, under an Early Oil Pilot Scheme. A final investment decision on the field development and pipeline could be taken in 2020, enabling commencement of full-scale production from 2023.

Norway and Kenya have developed a comprehensive programme for institutional cooperation, but the formal agreement is yet to be signed.

In anticipation of such an agreement, several technical capacity-building activities were undertaken during the first half of 2019. However, due to the delayed signing of the agreement, no institutional cooperation activities have been carried out since July 2019.

Key achievements of programme activities

Enhanced legal and regulatory framework

  • A new Upstream Petroleum Law was approved in March 2019. The Government is also working on various other legislative instruments necessary for the sustainable development and management of the sector. OfD provided comments to the National Treasury on the draft Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill.

Increased institutional capacity

  • Staff from the Kenyan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining (MoPM), the Turkana county government and the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) enhanced their competence in training workshops held by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on data management and petroleum economics. MoPM and NOCK shared their acquired knowledge in petroleum data management at international events in Europe and Africa.

  • The cooperation aimed at incorporating the petroleum sector into the macroeconomic planning model used by the National Treasury and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) continued in 2019. Three technical workshops were held, in which experts from Statistics Norway shared their experience and insight.

  • Officials from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the county governments of Lamu, Kisumu, Mombasa and Turkana benefitted from a workshop on chemicals and waste management in oil and gas exploration and production organised by UN Environment in collaboration with the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA).

  • Forty officials from Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and other national and local authorities passed a course in Mombasa on how to handle an oil spill, earning them an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) level 3 course diploma. The training was organised by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA).

  • Officials from KMA attended a training course in Nairobi arranged by UN Environment in collaboration with NCA, IMO and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation. The participants were trained on how to operationalise national oil spill contingency planning and how to strengthen cooperation between local and national level authorities.

Increased transparency and accountability

  • NPD has been assisting MoPM in the systematisation and digitalisation of its technical and financial petroleum data for a number of years. As a direct result of this cooperation, MoPM published the first interactive map in 2019, providing the industry and general population alike with online access to this vital information.

  • The World Wildlife Fund successfully advocated for a rerouting of the planned 820 km crude pipeline from Turkana to the port of Lamu. As a result of this, the route proposed by the project developer in its December 2019 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report will not intersect areas that are considered to be particularly environmentally sensitive. One such area is the habitat in Samburu county which hosts the endangered Grevy’s zebra.
Published 25.05.2016
Last updated 22.10.2020