January 25, 2012 / 3:55 PM / 8 years ago

Africa Oil, Tullow begin drilling in northern Kenya

NAIROBI, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corp. has begun drilling an exploratory well in northern Kenya with its partner Tullow Oil, encouraged by recent finds in neighbouring countries, the firm said on Wednesday.

Africa Oil said it had commenced drilling on the Ngamia-1 well on block 10BB, in the Lokichar basin, part of the East African Rift System.

Though Kenya has no proven hydrocarbon reserves, gas discoveries in nearby Tanzania, and significant proven oil reserves along the border between Uganda and Congo, have encouraged interest in the east Africa nation.

“Our Ngamia prospect could be a play opener for another great success in the region,” Keith Hill, Africa Oil president and CEO said, citing Tullow’s success in exploration efforts in the Lake Albert Rift Basin in neighbouring Uganda.

Tullow Oil operates Kenya’s block 10BB with a 50 percent working interest and Africa Oil holds the remaining stake.

The Canadian firm said the Ngamia-1 will be the first well drilled on the block by the partnership with Tullow Oil and will mark the start of a multi-well drilling programme in Block 10BB and adjacent blocks.

Last week Africa Oil began drilling an exploratory well with the Dharoor valley prospect in neighbouring Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, the first to be sunk in the country since civil war erupted two decades ago.

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