The gas discovered during the drilling of a borehole in Mwireri village, Nyeri is carbon dioxide, an analysis by the Geothermal Development Company has revealed.
The discovery has raised prospect for the predominantly agricultural region to add mining to its income base.
Water and Natural Resources County Executive Fredrick Kinyua said yesterday that the geothermal agency has completed its investigation but was yet to submit the final report.
“They confirmed on Friday that the gas being emitted from the borehole was carbon dioxide. We are waiting for the report to know our next course of action,” he said.
The report, he said, will help inform the possibility of exploration in search for the gas, which is mainly used as a preservative or to enhance the flavour of food, beverages and alcoholic drinks.
Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Carbacid #ticker:CARB is Kenya’s largest seller and miner of carbon dioxide. Its largest carbon dioxide mines are in Kereita in Kiambu.
Kenya extracted carbon dioxide worth Sh510 million last year, data from the mining ministry show.
Carbacid says there are emerging new uses for the gas such as freezing, meat processing and insect control in grain silos.
The National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, who had been contracted by the Nyeri county government to drill the borehole, encountered the gas after reaching 250 feet (76 metres).
The workers have been forced to halt activities at the site. The borehole is just one of many the county is drilling across the expansive Kieni constituency to address water shortage.
The area MCA Wanjiku Kawanjiku revealed that there were plans to construct a dispensary on the piece of land.
He wants the relevant agencies to conduct further explorations since the people could be sitting on valuable natural resources.
The residents want the hole sealed noting that they were worried about their health.
"We do not know if the gas will have long term effects on out body organs. We have heard that some gases are poisonous," said Mr Mwangi Muchiri.
In the neighbouring Murang’a county, a former senior civil servant applied for a licence to prospect for carbon dioxide within Kahuro sub-county following a recent discovery of traces of the gas during the drilling of a borehole in the area.
Plans to start the search were made public in July in a gazette notice.