UPDATE: “We found oil in a hopeless place” by dilliemusic
So apparently they’ve struck oil in Turkana. The findings are in many ways preliminary, seeing as it will take years to properly assess the quantities and a bit longer to really start drilling; but our government seems to be optimistic that our reserves are bigger than Uganda’s.
Which puzzles me.
Out of sheer curiosity, when has finding oil in an African country EVER been a good thing?
I see the obvious benefit in that it will boost the economy in a multitude of ways, and it’ll drive the economy north-western which is quite necessary in this day and age, but on a large scale it seems hazardous.
Ignoring the obvious western influence – you know, how certain countries may decide that it’s the right time to attack certain terrorist groups as they drill and pump our mother Kenya shamelessly – there’s a more…local threat. Our government is a lot more shameless than those aforementioned warmongers. If we found 3 billion barrels worth for example, it’s safe to assume we’d only report 2 and only sell one, and 70% of that money would get lost through some nimble accounting. So really we’re banking on all the other byproducts that would benefit us; i.e. lower fuel prices, boosting rural economies, transport infrastructure, international interests, yada yada. But all these things have always just turned into more avenues of corruption for the government.
So in every which way, I can see why the government is psyched about this.
Further, the company that found the oil, Tullow, seems like they would stand to gain the most. Their stock has already started booming and looks to do nothing but grow in time.
So I get why they’re excited.
But for the rest of us, why should we celebrate so prematurely? If anything, shouldn’t we be scared and wary? I’m not proclaiming to be some sort of expert. Far from it. All I do is read books and occasionally watch the news. And from that cursory stance, the history of abuse of natural resources and the violence that follows the discovery of such seems like great cause for concern.
I applaud those who maintain positivity in knowing this and hoping that Kenya will be the first oil success story in Africa. And with cautious yet reluctant optimism I join them in hoping that our new government will handle this matter with dignified responsibility and that we should prosper from it immensely.
But in the interest of fairness, who really thinks that’s possible?