Kenya has joined the league of Africa oil exporters after its first consignment of 200,000 barrels fetched $12 million on Thursday afternoon.
That means the sweet light crude sold at $60 per barrel, an uptick of nearly 40 per cent above the $43 per barrel that the government had set as the break-even point for the Early Oil Pilot Scheme.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the breakthrough on twitter with a concise message: "We are now an oil exporter."
He expressed confidence that the oil trade would help grow the economy and end poverty.
“So, I think we have started the journey and it is up to us to ensure that those resources are put to the best use to make our country both prosperous and to ensure we eliminate poverty,” said President Kenyatta.
The oil production statistics were disclosed by London-based Tullow Oil, which has exploration and oilfields in Turkana.
“(Some) 200,000 barrels of oil have been safely delivered to Mombasa. Tullow expects East Africa's first export cargo of oil to be sold and lifted in the third quarter of 2019,” the multinational said in its trading update.
The export is intended to test the international markets’ reception of Kenya’s low-sulphur oil ahead of commercial production, which is estimated to start in the second half of 2023.
Tullow has been moving the oil by road to Mombasa. It started moving about 600 barrels per day (bpd), but raised the volume to 2,000 in May.
Contacted, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena would not disclose the buyer. “Those details are not out,” she said.