Tullow Oil is a British oil exploration company which has invested heavily in Kenya’s Turkana region endowed with huge oil deposits.
The firm successes have been experienced in other East African countries such as Ethiopia and Uganda’s Lake Albert oil wells.
The company have engaged other players in the oil sector and made various agreements with different sharing terms. In the year 2010, the firm signed an agreement with Africa Oil and Centric Energy of Kenya for a 50% operational interest, effective for five years. They have made other agreements in Ethiopia for the South Omo block.
The two partners; Tullow Oil and Africa Oil managed to strike oil deposits in Ngamia 1 and Ngamia 1. The deposits in Turkana’s Lokichar basin looks promising and of commercial value at an estimated 600 million barrels.
These discoveries have however not been so smooth; and Tullow have been faced with a lot of opposition from the local people, demanding to be given more jobs, more business opportunities and priorities. These have been causing some conflicts between the local community and the Tullow Oil leading to the suspension of the operations on several occasions.
Empowering Local communities in Turkana
The locals however, have held on their stand and they were not letting go their demand for jobs, business opportunities and many other priorities. This led to the two companies holding a number of talks with the community, the government and other stakeholders with aim of wanting the local people to shun from the violent protests.
They have used all possible means to win the locals and work together, the latest one being a three year car lease pact with Toyota Kenya costing Sh225 million. There was an application to operate the vehicles which led to 46 Turkana-based companies winning the ones that are already available, and they will then have a full ownership of the cars after the end of the lease period.
The local Turkana people are finally getting their wishes and demands met. Tullow Company is empowering and financing them so that they can engage in income generating activities. The company assisted the community in forming 36 local companies formed which were then financed so that they can engage in business activities.
They have facilitated women entrepreneurs from Turkana to attend an international training on areas like accounting, book keeping and marketing skills. The firm has a vision of opening an enterprise development center and to ensure that any kind of prosperity is shared with the local community by creating opportunities for local companies.
Various opportunities have already been given to Kenyan companies who have taken up the role of supplying goods worth Sh6 billion to the oil explorer. The local Turkana companies have supplied goods adding up to Sh1 billion. There is a rise in number of employees which stands at 2,300 out of the total of 3,600.That is 6 out of every 10 workers are local Turkana people.
Tullow has been involved in several projects aimed at uplifting the standards of living for the communities in the oil producing areas. Among the projects to help the society are health, education, environment and alternative livelihood in Turkana County, all these at a cost of about KES 400 million.