Oil has been discovered in Kenya in Turkana County, located in the country’s arid northwestern region, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki disclosed on Monday.
The oil was discovered during exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish oil giant, Tullow Oil.
Addressing the Kenyan press on Monday during a ceremony to announce the performance of government agencies for the financial year 2010/2011, President Kibaki called the discovery a “major breakthrough” while admitting that it was “the first time Kenya has made such a discovery.”
In a press release by the oil firm, Tullow disclosed that the discovery was made at the Ngamia-1 exploration well in Kenya.
President Kibaki said that successful drilling of the oil will take at least a few years. “It is the beginning of a long journey to make our country an oil producer, which typically takes in excess of three years. We shall be giving the nation more information as the oil exploration process continues,” he said.
Tullow divulged that the well will be drilled to a depth of at least 2,700 meters to explore for deeper potential and establish its commercial viability. The Ngamia-1 well is the first Tullow-owned prospect to be tested as part of a multi-well drilling campaign in Kenya.
Last year, Tullow struck oil in neighboring Uganda. The oil giant also owns exploration licenses and deep offshore producing assets in 15 African countries including Ghana, Liberia and Ethiopia.
Angus McCoss, Tullow’s exploration director, called the find an excellent start to the company’s major exploration campaign in the East African rift basins of Kenya and Ethiopia.
“To make good oil discovery in our first well is beyond our expectations and bodes well for the material programme ahead of us,” he said.