National Oil to build oil exploration lab at Nairobi headquarters

Oil exploration works in Turkana County
Oil exploration works in Turkana County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Oil Corporation of Kenya has invited firms to build an oil exploration laboratory at its Nairobi Kawi House headquarters.

The State oil marketer said in a tender notice the laboratory would assist Kenya make geochemical and petro physical analyses for the Kenyan oil and gas industry and potential foreign investors.

It is the second time National Oil is seeking to build the laboratory.

“National Oil Corporation of Kenya invites tenders from interested eligible for the completion of construction of oil and gas exploration laboratory,” said the firm.

The laboratory is also expected to assist Kenya provide data rich information to potential investors, as well as make available summary data that can be accessed by potential investors.


National Oil, incorporated in 1981, is involved in the marketing of petroleum products (downstream), development of petroleum infrastructure (midstream) and exploration of oil and gas (upstream activities).

The firm began operations in 1984 and its strategic mandate is to play a price-stabilising role and arrest any cartel-like behaviour by private marketers.

It operates its own exploration acreage on block 14T located within the Tertiary Rift basin and running from the shores of Lake Bogoria to Lake Magadi Basin on the border with Tanzania.

Kenya discovered commercial oil in 2012 in its Lokichar basin, which Tullow Oil estimates contains 560 million barrels in proven and probable reserves. Tullow has said this would translate to 60,000 to 100,000 barrels per day of gross production.

In August, Kenya shipped out 200,000 barrels of the Turkana crude to test the international markets’ reception of the low-sulphur oil ahead of commercial production, which is expected to start in the second half of 2023.

Production is now estimated to start in the second half of 2023.

Tullow has been moving the oil by road to Mombasa.