Kenya plans Somalia border wall to guard oil pipe

OREANDA-NEWS. November 20, 2015. The Kenyan government will build an 800-kilometre wall along its border with Somalia to help ensure the security of a planned crude pipeline from Uganda to the Indian Ocean, an official at Kenya's state-controlled NOC said.

"The wall along our border with Somalia is intended to boost security and keep out al-Shabaab's attacks, especially now that oil investors will be in the region for various oil development projects," the Kenyan official said.

Uganda is at crossroads on which route to use to export future crude production from the Total-led developments at the lake Albertine basin — both go to the Indian Ocean, one through Kenya, and the other through Tanzania.

Uganda in October supported Total's plans for the crude to go to the Tanzanian port of Tanga, despite the two countries having already sealed a deal for a route to Port Lamu via the Lokichar oil fields in northern Kenya. Uganda cited a security threat posed by al-Shabab, and a high transport tariff, for its decision to sign the Tanzanian agreement.

Total has been vocal against the Kenyan route. But its consortium partners are not so sure. China's state-owned CNOOC favoured the route because it could easily incorporate oil exports from landlocked South Sudan, where China's state-owned CNPC operates. UK-listed Tullow would favour the route because it has discovered 600mn bl of oil at Lokichar.

Tullow's partner in Kenya, Africa Oil, has said it would consider owning a minority stake in a pipeline that runs through Lokichar. Africa Oil operates one non-producing block at Lokichar, and is a minority partner in five more that are all operated by Tullow.

The Kenyan official said the border wall will involve concrete barriers, towers, ditches and observation posts, overlooked by CCTV, being installed from the Indian Ocean to the Mandera region, where Kenya and Somalia converge with Ethiopia.