By Governor’s Press Service

Tullow oil has moved to assure of security of oil exploration sites in Turkana after shocking reports of alleged developing black market of crude oil in Lokichar.

In a meeting with Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and other senior county government officials today at the County Headquarters, Tullow Country Manager Martin Mbogo said that all Tullow installations where crude oil mined was stored was secure and expressed confidence that substance at the centre of alleged black market did not originate from any of the company’s sites.

“We have followed up on these reports and even sought to find and analyse samples of the material but have found none, but what we are sure of is that the substance did not come from any Tullow site where crude oil is produced. We are cooperating with the police and have also ensured that all our sites are under tight security,” Mr Mbogo said.

He informed the Governor that the social investment projects by the company that include health centres in Lokichar and Kasuroi will now be handed over to the County Government to benefit residents after conclusion of court cases that had stalled the handing over.

Governor Nanok said that there was need for better engagement among the parties including the National and County Government, Tullow and the community with the next phase of oil production expected to commence. He raised concern of uncertainty rising from standoff between the Natioanl and County Government over the share of oil revenue.

“The public and the County feels ignored on issues raised over oil exploration and there is the feeling that we have no control of the process after production. This standoff affected the early oil project. The four parties in this process need better consultation,” he said.

The Governor announced of plans to push for legislation on land ownership and documentation that will guide in compensation, a matter he said was as contentious as the impasse over oil revenue sharing formula.

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro reiterated the importance of dialogue and community participation in programmes, a situation he said would lessen roadblocks and allow the contractor operate with ease.

The County Government has urged for fairness in staff layoff expected with suspension of drilling process, with Governor Nanok terming the matter delicate that needed to follow the law.

On waste management Tullow have informed the county that a team of environmental officers had addressed concern over waste disposal and had put mechanism to manage waste currently produced.

In the meeting were CECMs Jane Ajele (Health) and Esther Lokwei (Lands), Chief Officer for Energy Stella Opakas, Chief of Staff Abraham Losinyen, Advisors to the Governor Norbert Okumu (Legal) and Joseph Ekalale (Political).