Tullow is ready to transport oil from Turkana to Mombasa before the end of this month and is only waiting for the government's go-ahead, Country Manager Martin Mbogo has said.
The government has indicated that it was preparing to have the oil trucked under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme by the end of May, although that faces a number of obstacles.
Responding to questions on Tullow's preparedness for the piloting, Mr Mbogo told the Nation that they were still engaging the government to ensure its success.
"From a technical perspective, Tullow is ready to commence the Early Oil Piloting Scheme trucking. However, stakeholder engagements led by the government are ongoing and we are awaiting the government's greenlight to proceed," said Mr Mbogo.
Despite the assurance, the probability of that happening has been set back by the suspension of the new Petroleum Bill that was being formulated in Parliament. Majority Leader Aden Duale said MPs had proposed too many changes, necessitating its temporary withdrawal.
Under the scheme, the oil will be taken by road to the Kenya Petroleum Refineries in Mombasa as it awaits exportation.
The piloting programme, however, faces a number of challenges.
There has been an uproar over what the Turkana people should get, following a contested proposal in the new Petroleum Bill before Parliament, which is sponsored by the national government.
The proposed law gives Turkana County 25 per cent of the oil revenue but that is capped, such that the amount given does not exceed what the county gets from the national Treasury each year. Of the amount, 20 per cent will go to the county government and the remaining to the host community.
But the residents and their leaders want 10 per cent for the host community. They said any attempt to lower the percentage will be an act of provocation.
Mr Malcon Lopatio from Lepese village in Turkana South was more candid, saying they were ready to fight for their rightful share. "We are always being called for meetings, but nothing comes out of them. If they do not want to listen to us and address our problems, they should be ready for a difficult time," said Mr Lopatio.
Another challenge is the delayed construction of Kainuk bridge without which transportation of the oil will be next to impossible.