Kenya starts search for oil deposits in Kerio valley

Nairobi – Kenya has intensified the search for oil with the energy ministry hoping for discovery of commercial deposits in Kerio valley.

Nairobi – Kenya has intensified the search for oil with the energy ministry hoping for discovery of commercial deposits in Kerio valley.

A team of senior officials from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum are currently visiting Elgeyo-Marakwet in the valley to assess different sites to increase probabilities of Kenya becoming an oil and gas producer. The targeted sites include the Arror Belt and Kerio River that stretches to Lake Turkana, Felix Mutunguti, a senior official at the energy ministry said.

“Seismic investigations will be carried out to determine availability of commercial oil deposits,” said Mutunguti, adding that Lake Victoria was their next target.

“Search for oil deposits will go on in other parts of the country, including various parts of Turkana, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa and off-shore Indian Ocean,” Mutunguti said.

He said residents in the targeted areas were being sensitised on the importance of co-operating with the oil exploration firms to speed up the survey exercise.

The discovery of oil at Ngamia 1 in Turkana by Tullow Kenya two years ago has sparked an interest in Kenya by global exploration companies with ERHC finalising the process to hunt for the treasurable commodity in Turkana West and Loima districts. Adamanging and Bowleven Oil and Gas from Britain are to begin prospecting for oil and gas in Turkana North and Kibish districts.

The Kenyan government efforts follow Tullow Oil’s announcement of new oil finds. 

About two weeks ago, Tullow Oil announced it has made a new oil discovery at Etuko-1, a well in Nothern Kenya, raising hopes of massive oil reserves in the country.

Although the firm said it was too early to give estimates of the new oil find, it said results of drilling, wireline logs and samples of reservoir fluid confirmed a new discovery with a net pay of more than 40 metres.

It is now drilling further with results from the lower section expected by the end of the month. The exploration company has also doubled its projection of the available oil in other wells in the same region. It said test data from the Ngamia 1 and Twiga South 1 wells has doubled previous estimates of net oil pay to 200 metres and 75 metres respectively.

At an optimised flow rate potential of around 5,000 barrels of oil per day per well, the combined mean associated resources for the two discoveries is now estimated to be more than 250 million barrels with a potential to increase further following appraisal.

“The flow testing programme at Ngamia 1 in the Lokichar Basin has now been successfully completed with a cumulative constrained flow rate totaling 3,200 barrels per day of 25 to 35 degree API sweet waxy oil with no indication of pressure depletion,” Aidan Heavey, the Tullow chief executive officer, said.

“We have significantly upgraded our resource estimates for the South Lokichar Basin following the highly successful flow testing of Ngamia and Twiga South. We have also made a new discovery at Etuko 1,” he said.

Tullow has 50 per cent interest in 12 drilling blocks in Kenya.

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