For some, it has become an uncomfortable coincidence that every time oil and other natural resources are discovered in an area, trouble is not too far behind.
But this going forward could be an exception rather than the norm with the new approach in oil and gas exploration between Kenya and Norway dubbed Oil for Development.
This partnership is being pursued by Kenya’s environmental agency the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Norwegian Environment Agency. Towards this end, a joint meeting between the two agencies was held at NEMA head office to focus on a number of areas that need to be pursued under the programme by the two countries.
The meeting in progress [PHOTO: FERDINAND MUSUNGU/NEMA]
Poverty reduction through responsible management of petroleum resources topped the agenda. Other aspects discussed included long term collaborations with partner organizations in both countries and capacity development through institutional co-operation. The partnership between the two agencies also covers finance, resource, safety as well as environmental and emergency preparedness.
The Norwegian Environmental Agency has been closely involved in the oil and gas industry since 2006 and had its first cooperation agreement in the sector with Madagascar.
It was noted that Ghana has a lot of similarities with Kenya in terms of legislation and regulatory frameworks and therefore, Kenya would be interested on studying how the oil exploration project in Ghana has been executed as Kenya’s project could ideally follow the same pattern. It was noted that the most important thing is to adapt and not wholesome adoption of the Ghana-Norway approach since certain circumstances may differ slightly.
As a way forward, it was agreed that there is a need to address existing gaps in the tentative scope of proposed areas of cooperation.