Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil


Tullow Oil is a UK-based oil company with operations in Africa and South America, as well as non-operated assets in the UK’s North Sea. [1]

According to its website, Tullow entered the UK offshore exploration, development and production industry in 2000 after acquiring a number of Southern North Sea gas assets from BP. [1]

The company is decommissioning its UK North Sea assets, with decommissioning “expected to continue through to 2025”. [1] 

DeSmog has previously reported on Tullow’s operations in Kenya, where it faces allegations of corruption, environmental malpractice, and overstating the value of community projects it has undertaken to mitigate damage caused by its prospecting in the drought-stricken Turkana region.

A 2019 investigation by journalists from The Guardian revealed that Tullow donated £10,000 to Michael Gove, Conservative MP, in 2010, one of the few direct donations from fossil fuel firms to government officials. [2]

Stance on Climate Change

Tullow Oil claims that it is “committed to delivering sustainability in all of the communities where we operate” and that its “approach to sustainability is driven by our purpose to build a better future by responsible oil and gas development”. [3]

According to the company’s August 2020 Climate Policy, Tullow supports the goals of the Paris Agreement to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” while also stating that “fossil fuels are expected to continue to make a significant contribution to meeting the world’s growing energy needs over the coming decades”. [4] 

In its 2020 Climate Risk & Resilience Report, Tullow clearly states that the company will continue investing in oil and gas for the foreseeable future.

The report says: “​​Oil and gas continue to both underpin much of how our world runs today and will continue to bring significant wealth and social and economic development to oil exporting countries. At Tullow we believe that oil and gas will play an essential role in the global energy mix for the long-term, even if oil demand peaks in the coming decades.” [5]

The report goes on to say that although Tullow acknowledges the ongoing energy transition, the company believes that “host governments around the world will continue to greatly value the capability, connectivity and capital that [international oil companies] provide. Therefore, our focus for the foreseeable future will be oil and gas.” [5]

The report indicates that Tullow “plans to invest billions of dollars over the next 10 years,” while also claiming that it will be “reducing our carbon footprint”. [5]

Key People

Rahul Dhir is the CEO of Tullow Oil, having begun the role on July 1, 2020. Dhir previously founded Delonex Energy, an oil and gas company focused on Africa, in 2013. Prior to founding Delonex, Dhir was the CEO and managing director of oil and gas company Cairn India. [6]

Dorothy Thompson is the Chair of Tullow Oil and has held the role since July 2018 upon the retirement of Tullow founder Aidan Heavey. Prior to her role at Tullow, Thompson spent 12 years as CEO of Drax Group, an international power and energy trading company that runs a biomass-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Thompson left Drax at the end of 2017. [6]

Tullow’s founder Aidan Heavey retired as the company’s chair in 2018. Heavey donated more than £80,000 to the Conservative Party between 2007 and 2015. [6], [7]


January 24, 2020 

At a UK-Africa investment summit, Tullow committed £1.2 billion to continued oil production in Kenya, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson opening the summit by invoking the “climate emergency” and committing to “support African countries in their transition to cleaner energy”. [8]

February 2013

Environmental campaign group Platform published a report detailing how Tullow, BP, and Shell avoided paying UK tax while also receiving considerable government subsidies. [9]

The report alleged that Tullow also attempted to avoid paying taxes related to its operations in Uganda. Freedom of Information requests later revealed that British ministers lobbied the Ugandan government on behalf of the company, including then Foreign Secretary William Hague. [9], [10]

Contact & Address

According to its website, Tullow Oil can be reached at the following address: [12]

9 Chiswick Park
566 Chiswick High Road
London, W4 5XT

Social Media


  1. Tullow in the United Kingdom,” Tullow Oil. Archived July 26, 2021. URL:
  2. Jonathan Watts and Pamela Duncan. “MPs and the oil industry: who gave what to whom?,” The Guardian, October 11, 2019. Archived July 28, 2021. URL:
  3. Sustainability,” Tullow Oil. Archived July 25, 2021. URL: 
  4. Climate policy,” Tullow Oil, August 2020. Archived September 24, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. URL:
  5. Climate Risk & Resilience Report 2020,” Tullow Oil. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  6. Our board,” Tullow Oil. Archived July 29, 2021. URL: 
  7. Aidan Heavey,” The Electoral Commission. URL:
  8. Damian Carrington. “‘Hypocrisy’: 90% of UK-Africa summit’s energy deals were in fossil fuels,” The Guardian, January 24, 2020. Archived July 2, 2021. URL:
  9. Making a Killing: Oil Companies Tax Avoidance and Subsidies,” Platform, February 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  10. Holly Watt, Rowena Mason, Haroon Siddique, Jamie Grierson and David Pegg. “Donors and peers among signatories of pro-Tory business letter,” The Guardian, April 1, 2015. Archived May 25, 2021. URL:
  11. Operators directory,” Oil and Gas UK. Archived on July 27, 2021. URL:
  12. Contact us,” Tullow Oil. Archived July 26, 2021. URL:

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