African Press International (API)

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Surprising reason why Tullow oil should have never set foot in Turkana

Posted by African Press International on April 17, 2016

By Ordia Akelo (standard news Kenya)
Updated Sunday, April 17th 2016 at 10:21 GMT +3

Tullow oil is a common name which rings more than just a bell in the ears of Kenyans. When the British company made its first discovery in Ngamia Plant, Turkana in March 2012 it was all we could hear of. A billion barrels of oil sat deep in one of the least developed counties of this country. This was their ticket to rise out of poverty and for Kenya, this meant we would be the first country in East Africa to produce and distribute oil.

Fast forward to 2016 and the majorly pastoral community curse the day Tullow oil struck that deposit, and I concur with them, Tullow oil should have never set foot in Turkana. What seemed to be the ticket to their gravy train has turned out to be the bane of their existence.

One would assume that the fact that the deposits are on their land, they would get the lion’s share, but this is not so. Due to their low literacy levels they have been left out of major tenders and job opportunities that could have otherwise benefited them.

As a result there have been constant conflicts between the locals and Tullow oil due to unfair practices and displacements in order to create space for Tullow oil operations. Land is a big issue in the world over and especially Africa, so displacement for the majorly pastoral community with no sign of compensation means a disruption in their way of life.

The unfair practices have just begun and we are yet to see more of it in terms of corruption should we continue digging up fossil fuels. Already it is manifesting in the people who are awarded tenders for supplies and transportation. A job that can easily be managed by a resident of Turkana is given to someone from Nairobi or Kitale. This is just the beginning of what is to come. If this is the case God only knows what will go on when we are well established. Millions in revenue will be lost to a few individuals.

But none of these effects are more far reaching than the eminent drastic climate change we will experience as a result of digging up the reserves at Ngamia drilling site. I do not have to go into detail to explain what will happen a simple example will do.

In Kenya, the long rains are expected between March and May. This year however, in March Kenya’s MET department recorded temperatures in some regions at an all-time high of 40.5. We could not bear the heat, Nairobi and its environs were unbearable and do not get me started in Mombasa, let’s just say that was the worst time to visit the coast. We can safely say we have experienced the effects of global warming first hand.

See Also: Let oil boost economy not war as is trend with African countries

What this means is, those who planted earlier waiting for the long rains had to plant again as the first seeds were probably dried up. Unpredictable weather patterns will eventually contribute to food insecurity which will destabilize our economy which is reliant on agriculture.

This shows the direct impact of the greenhouse effect which is what human kind gets for messing with the ecosystem. The violent rays experienced in the month of March will definitely rise if we continue digging up fossil fuels. That amount of sunshine can only spell doom to mankind as there will be a rise in skin cancer.

Our fossil fuels should stay buried deep under because we will bring upon ourselves irreversible damage if we dig it up. It has caused conflict and will continue to do so, it will erode our morals further and cause so much more suffering and pain than need be.

More importantly it needs to stay deep under so that we can preserve this wonderful place, earth for our future generations. We can only do this by pulling our heads out of the notion that fossil fuels are the only things that can drive our economies. Fossil fuels get depleted with time but there will always be sunshine and wind, two things that we have in plenty within our borders.

In the same breath we should concentrate more on our natural energy sources that have served us well in the past. Geothermal projects and ongoing solar and wind projects should be more than enough to drive our economy.


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