Kenya Lokichar basin development threshold reached

Positive results from the deepened Etuko-1 exploratory well in northwestern Kenya have indicated that oil volumes located in the Lokichar basin exceed the threshold for development studies to begin, said Tullow Oil PLC.

Tullow and partner Africa Oil Corp. deepened the Etuko-1 discovery on Block 10BB to penetrate Miocene-age sandstones of the Lower Lokhone formation. The well encountered 50 m of potential net pay there in addition to the more than 40 m of net pay confirmed in the shallower Auwerwer and Upper Lokhone reservoirs.

Tullow spudded Etuko-1 in May about 14 km east of Twiga South-1. Etuko-1 is the first test of the basin flank play in the eastern part of the Lokichar basin.

All pay zones will be included in a program of flow testing later this year to determine their production potential. Although the Lower Lokhone sands are lower quality than the main objectives in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokhone formations, the partners successfully flowed oil from this interval in the Ngamia-1 well.

Once operations at Etuko-1 are complete, the rig will move to the Agete prospect 6 km north of the Twiga South discovery.

Ekales-1, the next exploratory well in the basin bounding fault play and located between the Ngamia and Twiga-South discoveries, was spudded on July 22 and targets similar objectives. A 550 sq km 3D survey over the area, which will support an appraisal program, is also scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2013.

Africa Oil noted that its acreage includes several Tertiary-aged rift basins that have similar characteristics to the Lake Albert rift basin in Uganda. More than 90 leads and prospects have been identified across this acreage in Kenya following the acquisition of 55,000 sq km of full tensor gravity and more than 6,500 km of 2D seismic.

Exploratory drilling and testing in the region began in January 2012 with the drilling of the Ngamia-1 well followed by the Twiga South-1 well. Exploratory and appraisal to date have greatly derisked the basin’s remaining prospectivity and underpin the belief that it and other basins on Africa Oil’s acreage could have potential similar to that of the Lake Albert rift basin in Uganda, Africa Oil said.

Resources discovered to date are of a scale that the partnership will initiate discussions with Kenya’s government and other relevant stakeholders to consider development options. These discussions include consideration of a ”start-up phase” oil production system with potential to deliver significant production rates with oil export via road or rail in advance of a full-scale pipeline development.

To facilitate these development activities in parallel with exploration and appraisal, an “area of interest,” encompassing the basin discoveries and further prospects in Blocks 13T and 10BB, was agreed with the government in February. This agreement allows a multiple field approach to development of the resources while permitting the continued focus on exploration to increase the resource base while concurrently appraising discoveries.

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