MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has flagged off the country's first export shipment of oil, more than 200,000 barrels of crude.

Kenyatta said Monday the oil exports begin an era of greater prosperity for Kenyans. The oil was purchased by a British-based Chinese company, according to a Kenyan government announcement.

The shipment is an accumulation of oil produced since Kenya began pumping in June 2018 at up to 2,000 barrels a day. The oil was trucked from Kenya's north to the coast in the Early Oil Pilot Scheme. A pipeline is being constructed to move the oil to Mombasa port. Kenya expects to start commercial oil production in 2024 with production of up to 100,000 barrels a day.

Africa Oil and partner Tullow Oil first struck oil in the South Lokichar basin in northwest Kenya in 2012, where reserves are estimated at 600 million barrels.

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