Politics and policy
Tullow Oil moves to new drilling site as Ngamia-1 results awaited
Posted Sunday, July 1 2012 at 16:31
Tullow Oil has concluded drilling for oil in the Ngamia-1 well after reaching a depth 400 metres, short of the targeted 2,700 metres.
The firm said it was not possible to strike additional oil beyond the current depth of 2,340 metres and was now moving to the next drilling location.
“The 2,700 was a preliminary target. We were looking for hydro-carbons at certain depths. We are currently testing the well to see the flow of oil,” said Martin Mbogo, general manager for Tullow Oil Kenya.
The findings could be released in two weeks but it is still too early to ascertain if the total oil deposit in Ngamia-1 was enough to put the country in the elite list of global producers.
Conclusive findings on commercial viability will take close to two years.
“The excitement was timely after we picked up samples of oil. As a listed company, we also have certain disclosure requirements,” said Mr Mbogo in a telephone interview.
Now, Tullow plans to shift its drilling rig to Twiga-1, also in Turkana, located in Block 13T, some 31 kilometres north-west of Ngamia-1.
The company is also mobilising a second rig to accelerate drilling in Paipai in Block 10A in Marsabit County.
Martin Heya, the Energy ministry’s Commissioner for Petroleum said drilling had been halted because the oil column had come to an end and the drilling was costly.
“The more we drill, we are overloaded with data which we must pay for. We are not plugging or abandoning. We are now testing the well to come back later,” Mr Heya said.
“Tullow and the government have agreed to stop there after Tullow hit the basement rock earlier than expected. The prospects for more oil below it are zero and there is no justification or benefits of drilling further,” he added.
Geology experts said seismic mapping before the drilling that started on January 24 may have been erroneous when the primary target was set.
“If Ngamia was bad, the rig would have been taken to Paipai. Moving to Twiga, which is larger and higher a risk, is a confirmation that Ngamia is good. Twiga is analogous to Ngamia,” said an industry expert.
Tullow has previously said that there are five other prospects within the basin.
It is understood that Tullow Oil has sunk close to $58 million (Sh4.7 billion) into the project. Ownership of Ngamia-1 drilling project is split fifty-fifty between Tullow and Africa Oil.
In a statement , Africa Oil confirmed that drilling has been completed while the two additional wells — Twiga-1 in Block 13T and the Paipai-1 in Block 10A --will be drilled.