• The international market will have a taste of Kenya’s light and sweet crude oil as early as next week.
  • Kenya’s crude oil is classified as ‘light and sweet’ meaning it has less sulphur (below 0.5 per cent) – an impurity that has to be removed before crude is refined into petroleum.
  • This type of oil is known to fetch higher prices in the global market because dealers find it easier to refine and it produces high-value products such as petrol and diesel.

The international market will have a taste of Kenya’s light and sweet crude oil as early as next week.

The country’s maiden crude oil will be shipped by Chinese state owned firm ChemChina which won the tender to buy the maiden Kenyan oil early this month at a cost of Sh1.2 billion ($12 million). ChemChina managed to outbid 7 other competitors, drawn from Europe and Asia who were angling for the Kenyan oil.

Petroleum principal secretary Andrew Kamau
Petroleum principal secretary Andrew Kamau

Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau has said the sale gives momentum to the nascent oil exploration industry in Kenya.

Kenya’s crude oil is classified as ‘light and sweet’ meaning it has less sulphur (below 0.5 per cent) – an impurity that has to be removed before crude is refined into petroleum.

This type of oil is known to fetch higher prices in the global market because dealers find it easier to refine and it produces high-value products such as petrol and diesel.

A general view shows an oil rig used in drilling at the Ngamia-1 well on Block 10BB, in the Lokichar basin, Turkana.
A general view shows an oil rig used in drilling at the Ngamia-1 well on Block 10BB, in the Lokichar basin, Turkana.

Kamau further said the construction of 810 kilometers pipeline between Lokichar and Lamu is expected to commence next year and take three years to complete.

In the meantime, the trucking of crude oil to the Port of Mombasa will proceed as usual even as the construction of the pipeline continues.

Tullow Oil is in discussion with financiers, and expects to close the crude oil pipeline construction deal by May next year.