President Uhuru is today expected to flag off the first ever shipment of 200,000 barrels of crude oil from Kenya.

The vessel carrying the oil will leave the Mombasa port at mid-morning for Malaysia.

UK-based Chinese company, ChemChina, has bought the first batch of the Kenyan crude oil at Sh1.2 billion (USD12 million).

This is part of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) which is an important step towards the South Lokichar Full Field Development (FFD) project.

The EOPS is preparing the road for full exploration and development of oil in the country, which was discovered in Turkana county in 2012 by Tullow Oil Kenya B.V and its partner Africa Oil Corporation.

Tullow is the operator and is supported by partners Africa Oil and Total, which has acquired a 25 per cent stake in the project.

Deputy President William Ruto, who will be joining Uhuru for the Mombasa port ceremony, was expected to jet into Mombasa on Sunday evening.

The milestone has opened doors for potential commercial exploration and development of oil and oil products which is expected to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

According to Tullow, Kenya’s onshore fields in Turkana hold an estimated 560 million barrels of oil.

Sources close to the Presidency also told the Star Uhuru will also take advantage of his trip to Mombasa to see off 119 Kenyan seafarers recruited recently by the Mediterranean Shipping Company cruise ship management.

This will bring to 256 the number of Kenyans recruited by the MSC in the last nine months.

The seafarers include sea cadets.

In July, Uhuru witnessed the signing of an MoU between the Transport ministry and the MSC for the revival of Kenya National Shipping Line.

The MoU was signed by Transport CS James Macharia and Captain Giovanni Cuomo, the First Vice President of MSC, which is one of the leading global container shipping companies in the world.

In reviving KNSL through the partnership with MSC, the shipping line is expected to once again become an active participant in international seaborne trade which accounts for a significant percentage of Kenya’s total trade.

MSC will assist in training world class seafarers for the Global market and for themselves – KNSL has guaranteed 2,000 seafarers per year for the next five years. Kenyans will have access seafarer’s jobs to about 52,000 Jobs from MSC alone.  

Uhuru is expected to pitch camp in Mombasa until early September when he will officially open the ASK Show.