US firm estimates oil at 662m barrels in its northern Kenya block

Tullow Oil workers at a drilling rig in Turkana. PHOTO | FILE
Tullow Oil workers at a drilling rig in Turkana. PHOTO | FILE 

US exploration firm ERHC Energy has estimated prospective oil resources in its northern Kenya-based Block 11A at 662 million barrels.

ERHC Turkana amount is slightly below the 800 million barrels recently reported as estimate by Swala Energy for hydrocarbons in the Nyanza basin. Both prospects are yet to be drilled to confirm the oil depth.

“Mean unrisked prospective resources of all prospects and leads in Block 11A totals 662 million barrels,” said ERHC in its latest update.

The company further reports that Tarach-1, one of the prospects within the block, is estimated to have 66 million barrels of what it calls “unrisked” or overall oil resources.

Done this year


The drilling for various prospects within Block 11A is supposed to be done this year, with the possibility of establishing the depth of oil available at each.

The well is to be drilled up to 3,000 metres.

“The Tarach-1 well is designed to drill from a 20-inch surface casing through intermediate casings down to 2,442 metres and set a seven-inch liner down to total depth (TD) of 3,000 metres,” said the statement.

“The rig is being mobilised to the drill site where concreting work and installation of conductors have already been completed. The contracting parties have completed over 80 kilometres (50 miles) of access road.”

ERHC owns 35 per cent stake in the block with 55 per cent owned by Spanish-owned CEPSA Kenya, which is also the operator of the exploration sites. The other 10 per cent is owned by the Kenyan government. Initially ERHC owned 90 per cent but farmed out the 55 per cent to CEPSA a few years ago.

ERHC also has gas and oil assets in other sub-Saharan African countries including Chad and Guinea.

Exploration firms working in Kenya’s various prospects have slowed down in the past year following the fall in the global oil price. Many have been selling stakes or raising capital through their home stock markets as they struggle to survive. Recently, Atlas Development, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, closed down Kenyan operations because of what it said were debts owed by oil exploration firms.