Monday 20 January 2020

Tullow Oil hit by protests over bandit attacks in Kenya

Tullow Oil has exploration interests in Kenya in East Africa
Tullow Oil has exploration interests in Kenya in East Africa
Tullow Oil CEO Paul McDade

Gavin McLoughlin

Tullow Oil has seen disruption to its transportation of oil in Kenya as local protests over bandit attacks escalated.

In a statement, the Irish oil company said it was "working with the respective national government agencies, the county government, local leadership and the communities to ensure that the matter is resolved amicably".

Local media reports said that angry residents stormed the Ngamia 8 oil facility and blocked oil trucks late last week in protest about the security situation in the region, known as Turkana.

Kenyan newspaper 'The Standard' quoted Turkana county commissioner Seif Matata as saying that security had been reinforced at the facility.

Residents are angry about activity by bandits seeking to steal cattle in the region. Last month Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to crack down on banditry with a shoot-to-kill order applying to anyone in possession of illegal firearms.

Mr Matata told 'The Standard' that residents should remain calm as the government sought to resolve the situation.

"Incidents of raids have drastically reduced and whenever they occur, the national police service officers have always endeavoured to recover all the livestock stolen," he said.

Tullow's work at the site is in pilot mode with a final investment decision on whether to go into full commercial production due by the end of next year.

Last week Tullow put out a trading update which showed an improvement in its financial position.

The business - built into a large explorer and producer from humble beginnings - has been held back in recent years by a heavy debt burden.

This year it's expecting first-half revenue of just under $1bn (€860m) and free cash flow of $300m.

"With substantially reduced gearing and financial discipline embedded across the group, we are now able to focus on the growth of the business," said Tullow CEO Paul McDade.

Mr McDade replaced long-time Tullow boss Aidan Heavey last year.

"We are accelerating production and cash flow growth across West Africa, we continue to make good progress towards sanctioning our developments in East Africa and, having refreshed the exploration portfolio, we are about to embark on a multi-year frontier drilling campaign targeting high-impact prospects in Africa and South America," Mr McDade added.

Irish Independent

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