Kenya: Oil Drilling Equipment Leaves

Kenya: Oil Drilling Equipment Leaves

Heavy drilling equipment that was used in off-shore oil drilling by Australia’s Woodside Energy off the Lamu Coast was on Friday loaded into a cargo freighter at the Moi Airport, Mombasa.

The aircraft was scheduled to fly out of Mombasa and head to Perth, the head office of oil exploration company, Woodside Energy.
Oracle Content & Collaboration

The exercise marks the end of Woodside Energy offshore drilling that started late last year off the Lamu coast. Initial tests indicated that there were no oil or gas in the first well at Pomboo-1 (Block 15) off Lamu.

DHL Global Forwarding had chartered an Atlas Air Boeing 747-400 aircraft that can carry up to 120 metric tonnes of cargo.

Mr Godfrey Luyuku, the DHL Global Fowarding, Mombasa branch manager told Saturday Standard at the airport that the drilling equipment being airlifted weighed 99 metric tonnes.

“Ours was to charter the aircraft that arrived in from Perth, Western Australia via Re Union Island and to do the documentation work before loading started,” he said.

Venture involved four companies

He was accompanied by Mr Fernando Marques, DHL Kenya Country Manager. The equipment which was used aboard the deep-sea water drill ship MV Chikyu was transported to Mombasa by sea and offloaded at the port of Mombasa before being taken to the airport.

It was stored at the Kenya Airfreight Cargo Handling Terminal where DHL personnel at the airport led by Mr Dennis Nyambane, DHL Airport supervisor lashed the drill cargo and put it on trolleys before it was taken to the airport.

Woodside Energy has been the operator in the joint venture that involved four oil drilling companies. Wood side holds 30 per cent stake in the consortium, Dana Petroleum of Britain has 30 per cent, Repsol Exploration S A of Spain 20 per cent and Global Petroleum of Australia another 20 per cent.

Apart from the Australian firm, the Chinese have also been involved in oil prospecting in Kenya. The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) signed an agreement with the Energy ministry after Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to Kenya in April last year.

Petroleum exploration begun in the 1950′s

The agreement secured China a lead role in the promising but underdeveloped petroleum sector in Kenya. CNOOC was allowed to lead exploration of six onshore blocks covering 115,343 square kilometres in Northern and Southern parts of Kenya.

Petroleum exploration in Kenya begun in the 1950′s with the first well being drilled in 1960. Other attempts have followed though with little success.

Oil exploration in Kenya is administered by the National Oil Corporation (NOCK), which initiated an in-house study of the Lamu basin as part of along term strategy to re-evaluate the existing geological, geophyiscal and geochamical data relating to each of the sedimentary basins in Kenya.

Kenya’s petroleum potential is best depicted by the four large sized sedimentary basins that straddle the country. They are to be found in Lamu, Anza, Mandera and Tertiary Rift Basins NOCK became operational in 1984 and its initial activities mainly consisted of exploration activities delegated from the Ministry of Energy.

Its formation had earlier on been precipitated by oil crisis of the 1970s and corresponding supply disruptions and price hikes that resulted in the country’s oil bill comprising of almost one third of the total value of imports.

This had made petroleum the largest single drain of Kenya’s foreign exchange earnings.

Copyright © 2007 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

Share this post