The State Department of Petroleum

The State Department of Petroleum

The State Department for Petroleum has three divisions namely Upstream, Mid-stream and Downstream. It is headed by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Petroleum, Mr. Andrew Kamau Ng’ang’a.

A general overview of the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is divided into three major sectors, that is, upstream, midstream and downstream. The Upstream sector is also commonly known as the exploration and production (E&P). This sector entails searching for potential underground or underwater (offshore) crude oil and natural gas fields, drilling exploratory wells, and subsequently drilling and operating the wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface. There has been a significant shift toward including unconventional gas as a part of the upstream sector, and corresponding developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing and transport.

The Midstream sector involves the transportation (by pipeline, rail, barge, oil tanker or truck), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products. Pipelines and other transport systems can be used to move crude oil from production sites to refineries and deliver the various refined products to downstream distributors. Natural gas pipeline networks aggregate gas from natural gas purification plants and deliver it to downstream customers, such as local utilities.

The Midstream operations are often taken to include some elements of the Upstream and Downstream sectors. For example, the Midstream sector may include natural gas processing plants that purify the raw natural gas as well as removing and producing elemental sulphur and natural gas liquids (NGL) as finished end-products.

The Downstream sector commonly refers to the refining of petroleum crude oil and processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil and natural gas.

This sector reaches consumers through products such as gasoline or petrol, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel oil, heating oil, fuel oils, lubricants, waxes, asphalt, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as hundreds of petrochemicals.

Mandate of the State Department of Petroleum

The State Department of Petroleum is mandated to undertake the following functions:

  1. Strategic Petroleum Management
  2. Management of Upstream Petroleum Products and Marketing
  3. Oil and Gas Sector Capacity Development
  4. Petroleum Products, Imports, Exports and Marketing Policy Management
  5. Licensing of Petroleum Marketing and Handling
  6. Quality Control of Petroleum Products

Semi-Autonomous Agencies Under the State Department of Petroleum

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC)
KPC wa established in September 1973 under the Companies Act Cap 486, is 100% owned by the government which and its mandate is to provide effective, reliable, safe and cost effective means of transporting petroleum products from Mombasa to the hinterland. The Company commenced operations in 1978 and has constructed a 1200Kilometre Pipeline network and over 600million-litre storage and loading facilities for transport, storage and distribution of oil products.

National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK)
NOCK is 100% state-owned corporation established in 1981 and became operational in 1984. It mandate is oil exploration, importation and sale of petroleum products in order to provide stability in the market.

Divisions under State Department of Petroleum


The Upstream Sector in Kenya The Upstream sector in Kenya essentially deals with hydrocarbon (Oil and Gas) exploration, both onshore and offshore within the four sedimentary basins in Kenya (Anza, Lamu, Mandera and Tertiary Rift), [...]


The Midstream Sector incorporates petroleum supply, storage, refining and distribution. As petroleum products are essential requirements for the development of the country’s economy, sufficient infrastructure systems are vital to ensure adequate, reliable and cost-effective supply [...]


Downstream sector involves licensing and monitoring of the operations of all countrywide retail network of 1200 petrol service stations operated by Multinationals (e.g. Total, Shell, OiLibya etc), National and Independent Operators. The compositional ownership of [...]