East Africa’s largest economy is about to become a major oil producer, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The U.K. oil giant Tullow estimates that Kenya’s Great Rift Valley area—known as the “Cradle of Mankind” due to the discovery there of the earliest known human remains—could yield 10 billion barrels of oil, enough to supply the country for three centuries. Production remains years away; officials first hope to build a $5 billion network of pipelines to the nation’s Indian Ocean coast in order to facilitate shipping to, notably, China, India, and other Asian countries.
With similar recent finds in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Uganda, the news is yet another sign that the innovative drilling techniques our own Vince Beiser explored in our March/April issue are remaking the geopolitical map in unpredictable ways. In this case, the findings seem likely to further entwine Sino-African economics. And, maybe more importantly, it’s another reason for the world’s largest polluter to forestall serious action to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.