Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hope of oil find fuels Turkana exploration

By BARNABAS BII

Oil explorers are back to Turkana District in search of petroleum products or gases, with another firm expressing interest in drilling a well in the Kerio Valley basin.

Africa Oil is to drill a well at Kalabata basin in the hunt for oil or gas, according to Turkana South district commissioner Joseph Kanyiri. Other areas the explorers will drill wells in include Kochodin location in Turkana East district and parts of Kerio division in Turkana Central.

“The oil exploring firm held a stakeholders meeting at Lokichar last week to educate the locals on the benefits of searching for oil in the area,” said Mr Kanyiri.

He said the exploration was taking place in block 10 BB and is expected to last for four weeks. “The seismic report will determine if the area has oil for potential drilling,” said Mr Kanyiri.

He added that the firm is involving local leaders to seek views on safety mechanisms on sinking of oil wells in the area. “More than 100 youths in the skilled and unskilled labour brackets are set to get jobs in the initial drilling process,” said Mr Kanyiri.

A Chinese oil exploring firm, China National Off-shore Oil Company (CNOOC), is drilling the 32nd well in the Anza basin of Isiolo District. The well is expected to be completed by next month, as expectations for the country to strike oil deposits rises as more exploration firms join the market.

According to Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi, other international oil companies are likely to rush in, if oil or gas is discovered in Isiolo. “Everybody is watching and we shall soon know if the country has oil deposits,” Mr Kiraitu was quoted saying in a section of the press.

Australia’s Woodside Energy is among several international firms that have been keen in search for oil and gas in the country. Oil deposits have been found in Uganda which shares the same geological features with Kenya.

Conference

Meanwhile, Kenya will host a regional conference showcasing East Africa as a new oil exploration frontier for which major multinationals are jostling for prospecting rights.

The Eastern Africa Energy Conference in Nairobi will from Tuesday examine emerging global oil and gas issues, economics and models driving industry, besides resource curse among others.

Additional reporting by Kennedy Senelwa

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