Tullow Oil has announced a find in the Emekuya-1 oil well in the South Lokichar basin in the northwestern part of the country. The exploration well was drilled in the Block 13T, which the UK-based, Africa-focused company operates with a 50-percent interest in partnership with Maersk Oil and Africa Oil Corporation, both with 25-percent stakes.
The well revealed a net pay—the vertical height of the rock formation that holds oil and gas—of 75 meters, which is much better than an earlier find in the same block, at the Erut-1 well, which revealed a net pay of 25 meters.
Kenya is a newcomer on the global oil scene, but has big hopes for its hydrocarbon reserves. In 2013, Tullow Oil and Africa Oil of Canada estimated the reserves in the country’s Great Rift Valley at up to 10 billion barrels. Of this, some 750 million barrels of commercially recoverable crude are estimated to be contained in Block 13T and Block 10BB.
The partners, which have been exploring the area since 2012, had plans to start pumping 2,000 bpd from the fields and store them in Mombasa. Once there is enough oil in storage, exports were planned to begin this month.
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There are already 60,000 barrels stored at a facility operated by Kenya petroleum Refineries Ltd. This, however is not enough to launch exports, and transportation of further amounts produced from test wells has been delayed by the government, which has not yet selected the company that will supply the trucktainers to be used for the transportation and the logistics company to take charge of this.
Buyers are also unclear. Earlier this year, Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said that Kenya’s first export-bound crude will be shipped to European refineries, but in April, he said the buyers are Indian and Chinese refiners.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.