Tullow invites contractors to drill 300 oil wells in Turkana


A Tullow oil rig in northern Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

UK petroleum explorer Tullow has revealed plans to drill 300 oil wells in Turkana, sending another strong signal of Kenya’s progression to an oil producing country.

Tullow Oil on Wednesday invited bids for the tender to drill the wells in the initial phase of production of the commodity.

The firm, which is the operator of a number of blocks in Turkana’s South Lokichar basin, wants to prequalify the companies ahead of awarding drilling tenders in the commercial development phase of production.

Tullow has already commenced the evacuation of early crude oil from Turkana to Mombasa awaiting early exploratory exports.

Some 2,000 barrels are being stored per day in the premises of the Kenya Petroleum Refinery at the Coast, with a target of attaining 400,000 barrels — enough to fill an oil tanker.

The government has indicated that it could even ship out the early oil once it hits the 200,000 barrels mark.

“Tullow Kenya B.V. is currently planning the foundation phase of the Kenya development, which comprises drilling and completion of approximately 300 wells,” the firm said in a public notice whose details were published on its website.

“To support the Kenya development, we are seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and reputable drilling and completion services companies who wish to be prequalified to participate in the planned competitive tendering exercise for the various services that will be required,” the company said.

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The tender will be for the foundation or initial production programme beginning 2020 and ending in 2025.

“Based on the current foundation phase schedule, the campaign (of 300 wells) will be from 2020 to 2025,” the notice said.

For a company to be prequalified, it must demonstrate its onshore experience in providing similar services in remote locations preferably in Africa and show sufficient capacity in terms of equipment and personnel to support a 300-well drilling campaign.

“[Applicants must show a] listing of previous projects, current projects, clients and client key contacts who may be contacted; financial capability to support 300 well campaign, providing audited financial statements for the last three years; have comprehensive health, safety and Environmental management system in place,” the notice said.

Potential suppliers of the services are supposed to send their applications by next Wednesday, July 4.

The targeted wells for the drilling in the first phase are spread across Ngamia, Amosing and Twiga fields. The fields to the north of this are set for production in the future phases, Tullow Oil said.

During the presentation of the 2018/19 Budget Statement in Parliament mid this month, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said work was “on-going for, [among others] the development of the upstream facilities which include drilling of over 200 production wells and the installation of the necessary oil drilling facilities to allow the flow of 60,000 – 80,000 barrels of oil per day.”