Tullow Oil in Kenya. Tullow Oil Plc has appointed Rahul Dhir as CEO.

Tullow Oil has paused operations at its oilfield in Turkana due to local protests over insecurity in the area, Reuters reported on July 25. The British oil and gas firm says it is imperative that the government listen to locals and provide a secure environment.

Tullow’s chief executive officer Paul McDade told Reuters, ““What you saw locally was the local people, the community… using the trucking operation as a lever really to demonstrate to the national government that the security situation on the ground had to improve.”

Mr. McDade also said the company expects to resume operations in the near future. “But it’s important to take the time out so that when we do return… we have a more secure environment.”

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Protesters blocked trucks ferrying crude oil late last month, forcing the trucks to turn around. The trucks carry around 600 barrels of oil per day to the coast and are part of the pilot scheme’s transport mechanism before a pipeline is built which should be operational by 2022.

The protestors decried what they perceive as growing insecurity in the region and even discrimination by Tullow.

This comes even after the firm earlier this week announced half year after tax profits topping Ksh5.5 billion.

According to a report in the Irish edition of The Independent, the push was fueled as expected by West Africa oil production which averaged 88,200 barrels of oil per day in the six months to June 30. The operations include fields in Ghana as well as non-operated assets in Gabon, Côte D’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea.

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In Kenya, Tullow is aiming for a final investment decision on its Ksh291 billion project in late 2019. The project is expected to open up the country’s oil industry to exports.

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