Centum Investment Company Plc and its partners plan to resume exploration for geothermal steam in Naivasha by March after previous two wells yielded less resource than what is required to sustain electricity generation.
Akiira Geothermal Ltd, a consortium where Centum controls a 37.5 per cent stake, banks on the planned drilling to kick-start building of a 70-megawatt power plant whose cost is projected at €310 million (Sh36.04 billion).
The first two wells, whose drilling works started in 2015, encountered some steam which was, however, not enough to support power generation to be connected to the national grid.
Centum chief executive James Mworia said: “We are in advanced discussions with strategic partners to do a joint development of the field and we expect to conclude that in the first quarter and to carry on with the drilling activities.”
“The field is rich in geothermal. It’s just next to KenGen’s Olkaria field. So, I have no doubt it’s going to be a successful operation. It’s just that it has taken us a long time,” he added.
Failure to strike adequate steam in the previous drilling, estimated to have cost in the order of Sh1.2 billion, has delayed Akiira’s power generation project which was initially set to start in December 2016.
The successful drilling of the planned third well, Centum said in its latest annual report for the year ended March 2018, will help unlock Sh25.23 billion (70 per cent) of the total project cost in funding from commercial banks.