Oil exploration and appraisal operations have multiplied across eastern Africa over the past decade. Many of the areas where operations have expanded are agrarian and pastoral margins, where a wider transformation is happening including small town growth and the development of new transport infrastructure.
Oil exploration and appraisal activity is the largest inflow of global capital in the history of Turkana County, an area of sweeping rangelands in the reaches of Kenya’s northwest. One of the poorest counties in the country, most inhabitants pursue livestock-keeping and a mix of opportunistic farming, charcoal burning and petty trade. Commercially viable deposits of oil were announced in 2012, starting with the300 million-barrel Ngamia oilfield in south Turkana.