Kenya could be on the verge of striking oil

Jan 13, 2004 01:00 AM

Kenya could be on the verge of striking oil, Energy minister Ochillo Ayacko revealed. Ayacko said preliminary findings by an Australian company exploring for oil at the coast show that Kenya could strike commercially viable oil.
The minister said data from a seismic survey by the Australian firm, Woodside, was promising and that the drilling of at least four wells would start in the next two years. Ayacko, however, said that Kenyans would have to wait for a comprehensive interpretation of the data later this year.

Data from a seismic survey vessel MV Polar Princess had been sent to Singapore for processing before being verified in Perth, Australia. Ayacko said on-going exploration processes at the coast had renewed hope that the country has exploitable deposits of the crucial natural resource. He said Kenya shared the same rock formation with Sudan, Cameroon and Chad, all of which had shown signs of having huge deposits of high-yielding oil.
The National Oil Corporation (NOCK) Managing Director, Mrs Mary M'Mukindia, said the Australian oil exploration giant had covered seven exploratory blocks, with initial seismic studies showing signs of oil presence. She said a group of Kenyan scientists would leave the country for Australia to participate in interpretation of the data collected from the blocks expected to start next month.

The exercise is expected to lead to the drilling of four of oil wells in 2006. The two were speaking during a meeting between top ministry officials led by Ayacko and energy sector parastatal heads and other stakeholders at the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) headquarters at Stima Plaza, Nairobi. National Oil Corporation of Kenya on behalf of the government has licensed two foreign firms, Woodside Energy of Australia and Dana to prospect for the "black gold" at the Kenyan coast.
Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Managing Director, Dr Shem Ochuodho, said the firm had succeeded in turning itself around and was already meeting its obligations to stakeholders. He said the firm last year paid Sh 1.7 bn in taxes to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Ayacko said the recent technical reports that revealed shady activities by some of the past and present bosses of the state parastatals, had been presented to the various boards and to the police for action. He said the government has also set aside over Sh 2 bn to revamp the ailing Rural Electrification Programme to ensure more and more people receive electricity.
He said the government had also instructed KPLC to ensure it covers at least 150,000 customers annually.

Source: The East African Standard
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