Monday, January 7, 2008

East Africa Exploring for Natural Gas & Oil

anuary 07, 2008: Search for oil in the Northern frontier’s Anza basin will begin in the first quarter of 2008, government officials said.

Oil explorers allocated blocks in northern Kenya, Rift Valley and Lamu are preparing for the search which will begin in the next three months, said Mr Alfred Odawa, a senior superintendent geologist at Energy ministry. The Anza basin and offshore Lamu are licensed out to nine international explorers.

Local and international experts say prospects of an oil find in these areas is high.

“For any of the international oil firms to decide to get exploration licences from us, they must have closely studied available data for any indications of hydrocarbons,” said Mr Odawa.

Australian listed companies—Gippsland Offshore petroleum, Origin Energy, Woodside Energy and East Africa Exploration company have been allocated on and off shore Lamu basin.

While Lundin Petroleum, China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd (CNOOC) and Vangold are licensed to cover the Anza basin.

Turkana Drilling Company and Camex Company are to explore the Rift Valley’s tertiary basin .

The interest shown by these international companies in Kenya’s oil exploration activities follows aggressive marketing by National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) .

The East Africa region depends on oil imports principally from the Middle East and any local oil discovery will readily find a market. Mike Devji, president, Canadian based Lion Petroleum Inc, said “this region is still a virgin territory.”

The whole of eastern African – from Somalia down to South Africa – has seen less than 500 wells drilled compared with West Africa’s 15,000 or so, or North Africa’s 19,000.

“Excitement is now focused with the hope that better exploration technology will unearth something that East Africa’s previous wells did not. Exploration in Kenya will attract other players after the elections.”

Kenya’s push for her own oil reserves is fanned by recent discoveries in Uganda and also by the increasing demand for fuel energy.

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