Tullow Oil has suspended the transport of crude oil in northern Kenya after severe weather destroyed crucial infrastructure.
The London stock exchange listed firm, which started oil exploration in Kenya’s Turkana County in 2012, said it has been forced to halt transportation of crude oil to the port city of Mombasa after sections of key roads were badly damaged by floods and heavy rains in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Kenya, like many other African countries, has been on the receiving end of extreme weather events oscillating between prolonged drought and heavy rains. Turkana was ravaged by drought spring and summer 2019 but has since experienced major downpours.
Last year during the short rains that falls between October and December, more than 160,000 people across 31 counties in Kenya were affected by floods and landslide while at least 130 people died, including 72 who were killed by a heavy rain triggered landslide in West Pokot County.
The short rains were exceptionally heavy than normal, the authorities noted. Turkana County was among the most severely affected regions by recent floods.
The heavy rains were primarily driven by the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As the dipole was only formerly discovered in 1999, its relationship with climate change is still being assessed.
Like what you’re reading? Support DeSmog by becoming a patron today!
Tullow uses about 100 specialised tankers to move 2,000 barrels of oil per day over 1,000 kilometres by road in Turkana.
Oil transportation will not resume until all the roads are repaired to a safe standards, the firm said in a statement. The suspension is a big blow to Kenya’s shipment target of 500,000 barrels of oil. In December, Tullow said only 150,000 barrels of oil had been ferried to Mombasa for pre-shipment storage.
DeSmog previously revealed how Tullow’s community projects that are intended to compensate local residents for damage and disruption from its oil exploration were having little impact in the region.
Image credit: Tullow Oil