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Oil search gets boost with new drilling in Northern Kenya

By Business Daily –

Canadian oil and gas explorer Africa Oil Corp awarded Weatherford International Ltd a contract for a drilling rig for an exploration well it plans to sink in northern Kenya, with its partners, later in the year.

The exploration firm and its joint venture partners hold exploration licences in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Weatherford, the world’s fourth-largest oilfield services company, will drill the rig at the Ngamia exploration well within Kenya’s Block 10BB, Africa Oil said.

This will boost the search for oil in Kenya after a number of explorers including China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) exited dimming the country’s to strike the luctrative commodity.

Interests

“Spudding of the Ngamia well is slated for the fourth quarter of 2011,” it said in a statement late on Thursday.

The company said it had also completed a gross 750 km of 2D seismic data in the Kaisut sub-basin of its Block 9 exploration licence, also in Kenya.

“Newly acquired data is excellent and a number of interesting leads have been identified,” Africa Oil said.

“(Africa Oil) is in a very strong financial position and is extremely excited to commence drilling operations and plans to drill seven to 10 high potential exploration wells in the next 18 months,” Keith Hill, Africa Oil president and chief executive, said, referring to the firm’s East Africa activities.

Earlier in the year, Africa Oil said it planned to drill up to eight exploratory wells in blocks it holds interests in across east Africa, two of which will be in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in Somalia.

The firm also signed a contract for another drilling rig for two exploration wells, which it planned to sink in Africa’s Puntland with it partners.

Gas discoveries in Tanzania, and significant proven oil reserves along the border between Uganda and Congo have encouraged interest in the once largely overlooked region.

In Tanzania, Irish oil and gas explorer Aminex Plc which started in mid-June drilling a well — the Nyuni-2 on Nyuni Island off the country’s coast — said on Friday it had reached a depth of 2,495 metres out of a planned 3,325 metres.

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