Tullow strikes more oil in Turkana ahead of early export plan

A Tullow Oil oil rig in Lokichar basin, Turkana County. PHOTO | FILE
A Tullow Oil oil rig in Lokichar basin, Turkana County. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya has hit another oil bonanza, taking the country closer to hitting one billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

British explorer Tullow Oil on Tuesday announced more finds at the Erut-1 well in Turkana basin, in what is set to lift the country’s estimates of the black gold from 750 million barrels.

“We are on track with our 1 billion+ barrels of oil target,” the firm said in a statement, citing ongoing exploration works.

The latest find involved drilling vertically through 25 metres of rock reservoir holding oil, which is similar to 25 metres of net oil pay.

Tullow, however, declined to disclose the amount of barrels struck.

“We cannot yet extrapolate exactly how much oil that is but it’s very encouraging,” the explorer said in response to queries from the Business Daily.

Early export

Tullow struck Kenya’s first oil in Turkana’s Lokichar basin in 2012 and followed it with a string of other finds that have put the country on the path to becoming an oil producer.

The company is set to start churning 2,000 barrels of crude oil daily for early small-scale exports in June as part of Kenyan government’s plan to test the global market.

The explorer last April announced another find that elevated Kenya’s recoverable reserves by 25 per cent from 600 million barrels to 750 million barrels.

The latest wet well, Erut-1, was a virgin exploration field (wildcat well) without previous record for oil reserves.

It was drilled 1.3 kilometres with the overall oil column for the field considered to be 100 to 125 metres, according to Tullow.

“This discovery is very significant and shows us that oil has migrated to the very northern part of the South Lokichar basin “the Northern Triangle” which has been underexplored thus far,” the firm said.

“The key message here is that finding oil this far north substantially reduces the risk when drilling other wells nearby. The fact that we have found oil here makes it much more likely we will find even more oil in the area as we explore and appraise.”

Tullow operates oil block 13T, in which Erut-1 well is located, and block 10BB with a 50 per cent shareholding together with partners Africa Oil (25 per cent) and Maersk Oil (25 per cent).

“The next well will be drilled at Amosing- an appraisal well. We will look at the data from the Erut-1 well and assess where to drill next in the Northern part of the basin.”

The company said that it will not farm-down its stake in Kenya after it recently offloaded 21.57 per cent of its exploration interests in Uganda’s exploration blocks to French major Total for Sh92.7 billion ($900 million).