Kenya: Oil Drilling Project Set to Commence

Kenya: Oil Drilling Project Set to Commence

Equipment to be used in prospective oil drilling off the Lamu Coast has arrived at Mombasa Port.

MV Thor Hanne, a general cargo vessel, docked in at the port after arriving from Singapore on Thursday. Equipment from the ship will be stored at a supply base for the oil drilling rig, called Chikyu, which is expected on location 135 km from Lamu next week. Mv Chikyu, a Japanese ship, is one of largest and most modern oil drilling rigs in the world, and is too large to dock at the port.

Finance Minister Mr Amos Kimunya says the Government is preparing to issue a “major” statement on the status of oil exploration in the country. He has assured Kenyans to be optimistic on possibilities discovery of oil in the parts of coastal region. The statement could change economic outlook of the country going forward, Kimunya said.

Energy officials say the Government has already briefed members of parliament, top civil servants, leaders from Lamu District, and owners of top media houses in Kenya on the latest developments on oil exploration.

“I was in Norway last week, where I represented the Government in a conference on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) on Oil”, the minister told the standard. The EITI supports improved governance in resource rich countries through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining. Some twenty countries have either endorsed or activity implementing EITI across the world.

The delegation to Norway included Mrs Mary M’ Mukindia, the chief executive officer, National Oil Corporation of Kenya. “The meeting in Norway was successful, and the coming of the ship (MV Chikyu) which will be used in drilling is a clear indication that everything is going on very well, ” Kimunya said.

Berth 5 of Mombasa port yesterday was a flurry of activity as personnel from Kenya Ports Authority, Spanfreight Shipping (the vessels local ground handling agents) and SDV Transami oversaw the offloading work. Drilling equipment stashed in containers was offloaded including pipes that will be used in the drilling work. Officials from Woodside Energy, the Australian company that has been contracted by National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) on behalf of the Government to explore for oil, were present. An official of Woodside Energy who did not wish to be identified said more equipment was on the way.

Woodside has won the rights to drill for oil in blocks L5 and L17, located over 100km from Lamu in the Indian Ocean. It is Australia’s largest publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production company with a market capitalisation of more than $19 billion.

In a separate function, Energy PS Mr Patrick Nyoike yesterday that rights to explore for oil on Blocks L2, L3, and L4 off Lamu were awarded to China National offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Two other firms from Sweden and Spain later requested to be allowed to explore blocks L9 and 10. The PS said these firms were introduced to CNOOC so that if they came to an agreement, then they could form a joint partnership in the exploration exercise in those blocks.

CNOOC signed six Production Sharing Contract (PSC) agreements with the Kenyan Government for blocks 1, 9, 10A, L-2, L-3 and L-4 in May 2006.

Copyright © 2006 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

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