Kenya Exploration Activities


Kenya is located between latitudes 5oNorth and 4o40’South. It is bisected by the Equator and East longitude 38o. It borders the Indian Ocean to the south east, Somalia to the East, Ethiopia to the North, South Sudan to the North West, Uganda to the West, and Tanzania to the south. From the coastal margin, the low plains ascend to the central highlands. The Kenyan highlands comprise successful agricultural regions with climatic conditions varying from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and north eastern regions. It covers an area of 582,646km2 with a population of over 40 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of over 5%. The major sectors contributing to the GDP growth are agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, transport and communication and fishing among others.

Kenya is endowed with diverse wildlife and thus a considerable acreage of land has been devoted to wildlife conservation habitats. These habitats include the famous Maasai Mara and Tsavo National Park. All the Big Five animals of Africa are found within these habitats.

Regionally, The East African Rift system bisects Kenya North-South with the drainage patterns being a function of the surface relief manifestation. Generally, most rivers drain to Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. Kenya has four (4) sedimentary basins namely; Lamu, Anza, Mandera and Tertiary Rift covering an area of approximate 500,000km2.

Exploration started in Kenya in the 1950s. The sedimentary basins are subdivided into sixty-three (63) petroleum exploration blocks. Out of the 63 exploration blocks, 29 are licensed to 15 international oil companies while one is licensed to the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK). Thirty three (33) blocks are open for licensing to investors for oil and gas exploration.

Currently, exploration activities are ongoing both in the onshore and offshore blocks, albeit in a reduced phase due to the fall in crude prices. To date, over 80,000-line km of 2D seismic data and approximately 10,000km2 of 3D seismic data has been acquired across the various blocks. A total of ninety (91) wells have been drilled. Most of the wells drilled so far are exploratory with a few being appraisal wells, mostly in the South Lokichar Sub-Basin of the Tertiary Rift Basin where significant oil discoveries have been made by Tullow Oil B.V.

Other areas with oil and gas discoveries include offshore Lamu Basin in Block L8 drilled by Apache Energy Ltd (gas discovery) and Block L10A drilled by BG Group (oil and gas discovery).

The Government of Kenya has already commissioned the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) in which crude oil is being trucked by road from Lokichar to Mombasa using ISO tanks. The storage tanks at Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL), Mombasa have been refurbished to store the crude awaiting export.

The government plans to construct a Crude Oil Pipeline from Lokichar to Lamu. A Joint Development Agreement (JDA) has been signed between the Government of Kenya and the Kenya Joint Ventures (KJV). Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) and Environment Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Lokichar-Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline are underway.