Seemingly out of nowhere, Kenya is headed to become the first oil exporter in East Africa. Moving in less than five years from being a nation without oil to the regional leader. Meanwhile cutting reliance on foreign energy suppliers such Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Tullow Oil Plc (TLW) discovered oil last year, and Kenya say they will start shipment in 2016. This move means Kenya will overtake neighboring Uganda, where Tullow discovered crude oil in 2006.

Chief Operating Officer Paul McDade said in an interview that Tullow plans to start pumping in Kenya as soon as next year.

According to Tullow, Kenya’s deposits may top 10 billion barrels, more than three times the U.K.’s remaining reserves.

Tullow estimates it’s found more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent resources after making three discoveries in Kenya’s South Lokichar Basin.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s government has delayed the $10 billion investment planned by Tullow and its partners, Total and Cnooc, to tap the Lake Albert fields. The sides need to agree on the size of a local refinery and an export pipeline, which is likely to cross Kenya in 2018.


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