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Tullow Oil withdraws from Ethiopia after unsuccessful drilling operations. The firm drift to Ethiopia after finding oil deposits in Northern Uganda and Kenya on East Africa's Great Rift Valley.  The firm attributed the withdrawal after recording 10 failures from wells drilled.

Tullow staffs will leave Ethiopia in December though it will maintain a skeleton office for the next two years.

Meanwhile, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are finalizing on a consultant to oversee the building of a pipeline to pump the region's new oil bonanza to the coast for export. The consultanant will carry out the feasibility study and front end engineering design for a crude oil pipeline running from Hoima to coastal region of Kenya.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the consultant to be announced early in November will be required to finish the study within five months of the award.

Also, the consultant will supervise the construction of a fibre optic cable from Hoima in Uganda through the Lokichar basin in northwest Kenya to Lamu, and tank terminals in Hoima, Lokichar and Lamu.

This project will entail the construction of a 9-km pipeline from the Lamu tank terminal to an offshore mooring buoy.







President Kenyatta today commissioned Olkaria IV 140 megawatt geothermal power plant whose well are 3000 metres deep. This is a development that will see local businesses and homes enjoy power with ease and increase  investments across the country. Olkaria 1 and IV will add 280MW to the national grid.

Speaking at the launch various stakeholders in the energy sector at the event encouraged Kenyans to invest and think of ways of owning their own electricity. Businessman Chris Kirubi urged every other Kenyan to install a solar panel in their homes.

“We intend to double the number of households that are connected to electricity through such initiatives”,  Deputy President, William Ruto said during the event.

With this, the cost of power will reduce by 30% by December 2014. Currently, Kenya Power accommodates 2.2 million customers across the country therefore, the demand for power is deemed to go up by 14% annually whereas power generation is growing at 5%.

Geothermal power accounts for 30% of the total output, 57% is hydropower and 32% is considered thermal and the rest comprises of geothermal and emergency thermal power.

Kenya has taken 50 years to generate 1400MW and the government expects to scale up electricity to 5000MW by 2016 and 3000MW geothermal power by 2020.

Note: 4 out of 5 people without grid power live in remote and rural areas and 90% of the Kenyan population depend on diesel for cooking and heating.







Kenya's energy regulator has cut down the retail prices of diesel, petrol and kerosene to reflect lower import costs, in a move likely to ease inflationary pressures.

Fuel prices have a big effect on inflation in the east African nation, which relies heavily on diesel for transport, power generation and agriculture, while kerosene is used in many households for cooking and lighting.

The Energy Regulatory Commission cut the maximum retail price on a litre of diesel by 1.69 shillings to 100.67 shillings (1.1292 US dollar) in the capital Nairobi and that of kerosene by 0.75 shillings per litre to 80.88 shillings.

The price of petrol fell by 0.75 shillings per litre to 110.89 shillings.

The regulator said the cost of importing crude fell in September compared with the previous month.

The government started a monthly review of retail fuel prices in 2010 after they shot up, driving up the cost of living.

Price inflation in Kenya fell to 6.60 percent in the year to September from 8.36 percent in the previous month.

The price adjustments are in effect and will stay in place for one month.

Source: Reuters




President Uhuru Kenyatta will today launch the largest single geothermal power plant in Africa, Olkaria IV in Naivasha. The project is designed to deliver 280MW to the national grid by end of year. The Olkaria IV is an extension of Olkaria I and II and was built in two plants each having two units (70 MW each) and generating 140 MW of power.

Built at a total cost of USD 370 million (KES 32,930,000,000), the power plant will benefit Kenya’s economy, households and businesses, who cry foul of high electricity costs. KenGen’s geothermal plant is an environmentally clean source of energy and is relatively cheap and reliable.

Power bill is expected to go down by 40%  by December 2014 with Olkaria IV in place.

Kenyan government and China Exim bank funded the drilling of the wells with the European Investment Bank, Agience Francaise de Development (AFD), the World Bank and KfW financing the project and development of the steam fields.

In 2012, construction work began involving Hyundai Engineering (Korea)/Toyota Tshusho of Japan consortium, KEC of India and Sinopec (China). In June 2014, tests for Olkaria IV units were done and completed in August 2014 and the plant was reliable to run.








The East Africa Oil and Gas (EAOGS) exhibition has been opened today at the Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi.  EAOGS expo brings together all decision makers in the oil and gas industry across East Africa.

The theme  of the exhibition will revolve on areas such as latest exploration updates, moving towards production, engaging the community, attracting investment and project finance among others.

The EAOGS exhibition gives opportunities for companies to display their latest products, services to their key target audience of oil and gas decision makers from across the world.East Africa is rapidly moving towards commercial oil and gas production with exciting developments through the region.

Some of the exhibitors at the event include; Gold Sponsor MRDC and Afex Group, ITT Bornemann, Merrick, Spica Inspections, A2E, KPM, Africa Oil, Afren, NOC Kenya, Simba Energy, ABS, and the Chinese Pavilion among many others.

The exhibition that is set to close tomorrow, October 17, 2014 was launched in 2012 as an official initiative of the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum. More than 300 companies from 42 countries have participated in the event since its inception.




Dear Kenya Engineer reader,

80% of passes for the Totally Concrete East Africa have already been reserved – make sure your organisation is adequately represented at this unique gathering of the most influential decision makers in east Africa cement, concrete and construction industries!    

Not only does Totally Concrete East Africa's  unique, invitation-only forum offer unique and first-in-Africa content and knowledge, but it also offers not-to-be-missed networking opportunities, bringing together the industry leaders and companies who are shaping the future of Africa's built environment.

If you haven't registered already, we'd be delighted to welcome you to this year's forum taking place 28 – 30 October 2014 at the Hyatt Kilimanjaro Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania .

 Who you will meet:

 Over 27 regulatory / government and standards board representatives who can give you insight into doing business in the region, updates on the latest standards and strategic insights.

 10 different regional EPC firms who build and maintain some of the largest infrastructure projects in the region.

 Senior representation from over 20 of east Africa's key project owners who are looking to network with suppliers and learn more about new and innovative turnkey solutions and technologies.

 Investors and financiers who hold the key to US$ millions into East Africa's construction and infrastructure.

 Over 20 selected cement producers and suppliers to the cement, concrete and construction sectors with a proven track record in Africa.

  Some of the leading architects and consultants in the region driving the design and urban planning direction of the region.

PS: There are only 10 seats available for the post event site visit to the TWIGA cement factory! Only registered delegates qualify to attend. Don't delay register today! 

PPS: As a reader of Kenya Engineer, you may qualify for free access to view the Technology Display area on Wednesday, 29 October between 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.




Three Japan-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing energy-saving LED lights, which have upended a multibillion-dollar industry while offering the promise of lighting to people living far from an electricity grid.

Isamu Akasaki, 85, from Meijo and Nagoya Universities, Hiroshi Amano, 54, from Nagoya, and Shuji Nakamura, 60, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, will share the 8 million-krona ($1.1 million) prize for the invention of blue-light emitting diodes, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in Stockholm.

The work “triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology,” the academy said in a statement. “Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century, the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.”

The three scientists were the first to master the intricate layering of semiconductor materials needed to create blue-light emitting diodes. Though red and green diodes had been invented decades earlier, blue was needed to complete the trio and create a light that would be white in colour.

The impact of the invention is still playing out in a lighting industry estimated by Royal Philips NV to be worth about $75 billion. LED lamps accounted for 15 percent of global lighting sales in 2013, up from 4 percent in 2009, according to Euromonitor International, a market research company. In Asia, LEDs are now 20 percent of the market.

Rapid Decline

“If you look at Philips’s guidance, they’re saying that traditional lighting will decline 10 percent per annum, where LEDs will grow 20 percent to 25 percent per annum,” said Robin van den Broek, an Amsterdam-based analyst at ING Bank. “We’re still in a transitional phase, and the fact that you could have a blue LED light which allowed the white LED light was pivotal to that.”

Analysts have said that General Electric Co., the third-biggest lighting maker, may divest those operations, particularly after the Fairfield, Connecticut-based manufacturer agreed in September to sell its home appliances unit.

LED lighting also has helped open up new markets on continents such as Africa, where many people have limited access to an electricity grid. Unlike older, power-hungry bulbs, LED models can run on solar power and other cheap local alternatives. Philips has targeted markets in Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and Tanzania.

Annual prizes for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, peace and literature were established in the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who died in 1896. The Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 and the prizes were first handed out the following year.

The first Nobel in physics was awarded to Wilhelm Roentgen for his discovery of X-rays. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert won last year for describing the Higgs boson, a theoretical particle that may explain where mass comes from.
Source: Bloomberg







Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has signed a three year service-level contract agreement of KES 13 billion with Hass Petroleum to deliver 130 million litres of diesel. Hass Petroleum won the contract against five companies including Total, Vivo Energy and Kenol Kobil in the tender oil offered by RVR.

Hass will be entitled to managing the fuel facilities and ensure maximum stock levels in RVR operations to lower cost. The oil company will supply fuel worth KES 3.3 billion in the current year to June 2015 and the volume is set to go up over the subsequent years. This will see RVR increase cargo capacity through acquisition of more locomotives fleet in March 2015.

According to Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) data, Hass Petroleum is Kenya’s eleventh oil marketer with a market share of 1.7% as at March 2014.
Last year Kenya’s total fuel consumption stood at 4.6 billion litres with diesel and other variants accounting for more than half of total fuel used.

In September 2014, RVR commissioned three General Electric B23-7 locomotives to ease efficiency in freight volumes. This commissioning came after RVR announcement that it had secured a KES 1.8 billion asset financing with Standard Bank of South Africa and CfC Stanbic Bank towards the acquisition of 20 locomotives from the United States of America.







The United Kingdom (UK) is encouraging Kenya to subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a system designed to improve the way revenues from oil, gas and minerals are managed, a British High Commissioner said during an industry forum in Nairobi.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner said the initiative ensures people share the economic benefits of natural resources in their country.

Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique are all EITI compliant and seeing benefits of the voluntary approach, which is set up to help tackle corruption.

‘We believe that EITI membership would bring similar benefits for Kenya and help create the environment which will attract investment and facilitate the equitable and sustainable development of the Kenyan extractives sector,’ Turner said.
Tullow Oil and Africa Oil Corp. in March 2012 discovered crude oil in the South Lokichar basin in north western Kenya.

The resources encountered in block 10 BB and 13T are believed to contain 600 million barrels.

‘If Kenya joins EITI at an early stage in the development of the country's extractives sector, the global initiative would help the east African country maximize the benefits and avoid some of challenges experienced in other countries,’ Turner said.

Turner said discovery of oil and gas can be a defining moment, though "lessons from other countries reveal the potential and pitfalls of a booming extractive sector."

‘While it can boost an economy and fuel growth in other sectors, it can also distort the economy and foster conflict and insecurity,’ he said.

In Kenya, the oil and gas sector has a huge potential to secure foreign investment and a significant boost to gross domestic product.







Base Titanium, a Kwale based mining firm will now be able to export its titanium ore after its lenders pushed its repayment debt of KES 19.1 billion ($251 million) to June 2015.

According to Base Resources, the first principal repayment will be deferred from December to June 2015 and the debt repayments during the 2015 financial year will be reduced from KES 4 billion ($45.9 million) to KES 977.3 million ($11 million).

In October 2013, the company had anticipated to begin earning from its titanium ore but due to years of delays experienced in obtaining an export licence it pushed its export date to February this year where it made its first shipment of minerals from Kenya worth KES 387 million at the port of Mombasa.

The ongoing four year exploration activity at Kwale mining site saw an initial 25,000 tonnes of IImenite extract of titanium mineral loaded to the ship for export to China.

Since 2006, the project has faced a lot of challenges ranging from financial constraints, protests from environmental activists and local disruption from farmers who want land compensation and bureaucracy. Currently, the company is in a tussle with Kwale county  government which wants to hit it with export levy.

Base Titanium Kenya is funded through a combination of debt and equity with lenders comprising of banks and development financial institutions with  an approximate lifespan of between 11-14 years.




  • Tullow exits Ethiopia after futile drills

  • Highlights of Olkaria IV commissioning

  • Energy regulator announces new prices

  • Electricity cost to reduce as KenGen’s unveils...

  • 3rd East Africa Oil and Gas exhibition opens at...

  • Totally Concrete East Africa

  • Energy-Saving LED Lights Win Nobel Physics Prize

  • Hass petroleum wins KES13bn RVR contract

  • UK encourages Kenya to join EITI extraction...

  • Base Titanium debt settlement pushed to June 2015

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the largest single geothermal power plant in Africa, Olkaria IV in Naivasha. The project is designed to deliver 280MW to the national grid by end of year. Olkaria IV is an extension of Olkaria I and II and was built in two plants each having two units (70 MW each) and generating 140 MW of power

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