Moving Kenya Forward: A webinar presented by the Chamber

June 5, 2020

With Kenya’s oil and gas transition underway, the African Energy series of webinars presented by the African Energy Chamber and hosted by Africa Oil & Power, held a discussion focused on the approaches Kenya’s oil and gas industry can take in moving forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Panelists driving the discussion were Doris Mwirigi, Chief Operating Officer, Energy Solutions Africa; Toks Azeez, Sales and Commercial Director for Sub Saharan Africa, Baker Hughes; Mwendia Nyaga, Chief Finance Officer, Oilfield Movers; and Brian Muriuki, Managing Director & Country Chair, Royal Dutch Shell Ghana.

The discussion was moderated by Caty Hirst, Director of Programming, Africa Oil & Power and Elizabeth Rogo, President for East Africa of the African Energy Chamber.

With Tullow Oil declaring force majeure on Blocks 10BB and 13T in Turkana last month due to “restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic on Tullow’s work programme and recent tax changes,” Tullow said. Panelists of the webinar shared their insights on the future of Kenya’s energy industry and what it will take to have East Africa emerge as a regional energy hub, particularly with gas being the focus.

“Force majeures are reactive for companies; it is something that is beyond their means or the problem there are facing. So, it is unfortunate that this has happened in Kenya, said Dr. Elly Karuhanga. With Kenya being home to a wealth of natural resources, panelists said taking a regionally strategic approach that is encouraged by supporting legislations and regulations was key in the country creating an enabling environment that is attractive to foreign investors and local entrepreneurs.

“The important thing is that the oil is there, it is in the ground, Kenya is a country that is really gifted with natural resources, both onshore & offshore.” said Hon. Dr. Elly Karuhanga, Chairman of The Uganda Chamber of Mines & Petroleum & Chairman, Private Sector Foundation Uganda.

“For us it is more about, how do we get our local partners in Kenya who have been involved in the onshore activities, to then up their game a little bit to meet the offshore requirements and that’s going to take a lot of back and forth, integration, cooperation to get them to a point where the skillset of that personnel and the equipment that they have and intend to acquire will be able to meet the requirements of deep-water play,” said Toks Azeez, Sales and Commercial Director for Sub Saharan Africa, Baker Hughes.

Other crucial topics that arose included the participation of women in the energy industry.
“I think when we talk about women, it shouldn’t be a question of diversity, but a business decision [which can enable more women to further their careers in the industry]” Doris Mwirigi expressed.

The Chamber’s President for East Africa, Elizabeth Rogo also supported that the issue of women participation lies not in their entry but rather their retention in the industry – a challenge that the panellists agreed can be tackled by initiatives such as Equal by 30.

We look forward to hosting our next webinar taking place on June 9th at 3PM SAST on Closing Deals: Advancing FID During COVID-19 that will shed light on companies around the world face the impacts of Covid-19 in the energy sector, and what projects will be prioritised under this competitive environment. Join the discussion by registering here.

About the African Energy Chamber

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is a leading chamber of successful networks, transactions and partnerships at the helm of Africa’s growing energy industries. The AEC actively promotes the interests of the African continent, its companies and its people.

Partners and members of the African Energy Chamber have the power to shape Africa’s energy future by promoting growth, fostering collaboration, shaping policy, and providing leadership and guidance in the fast-growing energy sector.