Nairobi — National Oil Corporation of Kenya Chairman Kiraitu Murungi has called on President William Ruto to invest in oil production, saying it is the answer to the current debt crisis.
He said the country stands to get more than USD8 billion from the Lokichar basin alone, money he said will be enough to cut aid dependency and lift millions of Kenyans out of poverty.
"Experts tell us that the Lokichar field asset is quantified at 472 million barrels recoverable. With the State's carried interest of 22.5 per cent share in the production sharing contract, the country stands to earn USD8 billion at the current rate of USD80 a barrel. We can do a lot with this kind of money," Mr Kiraitu said.
Tullow in May submitted its revised Field Development Plan to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority and is now under review.
Murungi, a former Energy minister, hit out at the Uhuru administration for neglecting the oil sector despite the precious resource being discovered more than 10 years ago.
"Kenya's upstream oil and gas sector has stagnated because of lack of passion, official neglect and lack of investment by the previous government," Murungi noted.
He added: "We cannot leave development and exploitation of the oil reserves in Lokichar to
Tullow alone. As NOC we shall seek government support so that we can accelerate production and generate resources to pull our people out of debt and poverty."
He was speaking at NOC headquarters in Nairobi when he received delegates from nine countries attending the 8th African Petroleum Data Management forum taking place at PrideInn Paradise, Mombasa.
Countries participating in the conference are Norway, Somalia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, Ghana and South Africa and Kenya.
Murungi said the key to Africa's energy independence and rapid socio-economic transformation lies in sustainable exploitation of vast oil and gas resources.
"There is talk about energy transition from oil and gas to renewables, but that will not happen soon. We still need oil and gas to fuel our energy and development."