More Blocks in turkana
In a culmination of more than a decade of failures and false starts, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has announced that oil has been struck in Turkana County in the north-western dustbowl region, confirming that the east African region could be an international oil hotspot.
This marks what appears to be a major breakthrough in Kenya’s efforts to become a middle-income country by the year 2030. “This morning, I have been informed by the Minister for Energy that our country has made a major breakthrough in oil exploration. This weekend, Tullow Oil, which has been prospecting for oil in block 10 BB in Turkana County, discovered oil in Ngamia-1 well, at a depth of between 846 and 1041 meters. They established over 20 meters of what is technically referred to as OIL-PAY. To establish commercial viability of this oil, they have to drill multiple wells,” Kibaki announced.
“This is the first time Kenya has made such a discovery and it is very good news for our country. It is however the beginning of a long journey to make our country an oil producer, which typically takes in excess of 3 years. We shall be giving the nation more information as the oil exploration process continues,” he said, pushing the Turkana region to join the world list of ”trending” themes on Twitter.
British company Tullow Oil Plc, the London-listed oil and gas exploration firm that discovered oil in western Uganda a few years ago, was key to this discovery that has been speculated for decades, but often with dissapointing results.
Prior to this announcement, Kenya was yet to discover any commercial oil deposits, but interest in its exploration blocks has grown since neighbouring Uganda discovered billions of barrels in its Lake Albert rift.
While it may be too early to celebrate, Kenya officially joins Uganda and South Sudan as oil producing nations. Local subsidiary, Tullow Kenya BV, which is operating five exploration blocks in northern Kenya, started drilling wells in 2011.
The announment comes weeks after Kibaki, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, launched a project to build a port in the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu and a pipeline to link the three nations, a move that irked neighbouring Uganda.
This means that the government will make urgent plans to expand the oil refinery in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa or build an additional one in Turkana to cater for the three countries, experts told the Jackal News.
Meanwhile, the announcement saw the company’s share price climb by 34p to £15.07 after it said its first exploration well in a drilling campaign taking in Kenya and Ethopia had discovered light crude oil. Tullow’s exploration director Angus McCoss said: “This is an excellent start to our major exploration campaign in the East African rift basins of Kenya and Ethiopia. to make such a good oil discovery in our first well is beyond our expectations and bodes well for the material programme ahead of us.”
Last year, Tullow oil, working alongside Canadian firm, Africa Oil issued this statement: “Although Kenya has so far failed to discover any commercially viable oil and gas deposits, interest inthe country’s hydrocarbon potential has soared following the growing number of fresh large-scale discoveries in neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.”
Recently a senior Kenyan Energy Ministry official, Hudson Adambi, said that a number of exploration blocks in the semi-desert areas of Mandera in the country’s north had been abandoned after failing to show commercially exploitable reserves.
At the same time, several international companies are currently drilling exploratory wells in the war-torm Somalia since many geological studies have indicated that the Horn of Africa could be having so much minerals, notably oil.