Tullow’s exploration work in the region over the last five years since obtaining their 50% interest in Blocks 10A, 10BA and 10BB in 2010 has required a large logistic effort that has scaled up as exploration expanded. Discoveries of oil deposits in 10BB since 2012 have increased these efforts, and one of the key supplies has been drinking water – lots of it.
The established method of drinking water provision within the oil & gas industry is to supply bottled water to remote areas. The ease of purchase, transport and storage makes bottles an easy option for exploratory entities like oil, gas and mining prospectors, but water is expensive to move and the bottles have a very serious impact: they cause a waste problem.
Tullow in consultation with Basis-Africa decided to put into place a local drinking water production facility. Utilising the local brackish groundwater, this unit, the ‘WaterCube’, along with a reusable container for each worker, provides international standard drinking water on a free flow basis to the workforce, 24/7, with a supply of ice also available for those who need it.
The impact has been exceptional, with an estimated reduction in bottled water usage of 97%. For Tullow this means that, with the exception of emergency stores, the operations in Northern Kenya are now almost completely PET-bottle free.
A short video of the project can be seen here: WaterCube in action in Turkana