MOMBASA - Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has cautioned that stern environmental measures should be put in place as East Africa braces itself for full oil exploration and exploitation.
The remarks were contained in a speech read for him by the Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, yesterday at the opening of the 4th East African Petroleum conference taking place in Mombasa, Kenya.
“I would like to urge prospecting companies to ensure strict adherence to environmental and social impact requirements. These should be in tandem with best international practice in upstream petroleum industry,” Kibaki’s speech read.
He added that it is crucial to maintain a balance between profit maximization and environmental preservation, because environmental sustainability is a prerequisite in the social-economic transformation and development agenda.
The meeting brought together stakeholders in oil exploration from all the five partner states forming the East African Community.
The Kenyan President also called for sound management of revenues generated from exploitation of hydro-carbons, adding that it is very important in the discussions of enhancing exploration and exploitation of oil and gas for social economic development in the region.
East Africa has in the recent past not only displayed potential in areas of harnessing geothermal energy, but has also discovered oil and gas.
All the partner states and renowned drilling companies in the world had by yesterday erected exhibition stands showcasing potential in the petroleum sector.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Marie Claire Mukasine, explained to participants, who included potential investors, the opportunities Rwanda has in the gas exploitation business.
Flanked by the Interim Director General of the Unit for the Promotion and exploitation of Lake Kivu gas, Charles Nyirahuku, Mukasine, took participants through the Lake Kivu Methane Gas Project.
“Participants at the conference are very eager to know how all this is working out. We are getting many visitors coming to our stand because we are actually the only people with the computer technology showing whatever is going at the exploitation site in Lake Kivu,” Mukasine said.
The three-day conference is taking place at a time when current global financial meltdown and marked reduction in oil prices have grossly impacted on the exploration financing base of many oil companies worldwide.
It’s organized by the East African Community (EAC) secretariat in collaboration with Kenya’s Ministries of EAC and Energy and has attracted over 600 delegates from the region and all over the world.