NAIROBI, July 25 Canadian explorer Africa Oil
Corp said on Thursday it had begun drilling a new well
in Kenya with its British partner Tullow Oil Plc, as the
two companies speed up exploration efforts in the east Africa
East Africa has become a hotbed of exploration after oil
discoveries in Kenya and Uganda and huge gas finds in Tanzania
and Mozambique. However, Kenya has yet to determine whether it
has commercially viable quantities of hydrocarbons.
Drilling of the Ekales-1 well, located within Kenya's
Lokichar basin, started on Monday. Its planned depth is 2,500
metres and it would take approximately two months to drill and
evaluate its content, Africa Oil said.
"The Ekales prospect is probably one of the lowest risk
prospects in our inventory. The proximity and similarity to the
existing Ngamia and Twiga discoveries give us a high degree of
confidence that we will find oil and continue to build the
discovered resources necessary for commercial volume threshold,"
Keith Hill, Africa Oil's chief executive, said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Tullow said it saw a flow rate potential
of 5,000 barrels a day based on Ngamia-1 and Twiga-South-1, and
estimated combined mean associated resources for the discoveries
were 250 million barrels of oil, a forecast it said could
increase further after appraisal.
The Ekales-1 prospect is located approximately 15 km
northwest of the Ngamia discovery and 7 km south of the Twiga
discovery, Africa Oil said.
Ekales-1 on onshore block 13T is a joint venture between
Tullow, the well operator with 50 percent of the exploration
licence, and Africa Oil.
Buoyed by oil finds in Kenya's Ngamia, Twiga and Etuko
wells, Hill said Africa Oil and Tullow Oil planned to speed up
their exploration efforts in the east Africa region, including
the Horn of Africa.
"Our pace of exploration and appraisal continues to
accelerate with the anticipated arrival of three additional rigs
in Kenya and Ethiopia in the next 60 days for a total of six
rigs, four of which will be operated by Tullow Oil," he said.
"The recently announced Etuko discovery, on the flank of the
Lokichar basis has opened a new play fairway and provided
further confirmation of the world class potential of the