Huston based oil firm, Apache Kenya is set to commence drilling works in a week’s time, four months after securing a deep-water drilling ship for their giant Mbawa 1 Prospect off Lamu archipelago.

The block is located 170KM off the shoreline at Coast. Drilling, by deepwater drilling ship Deepsea Metro 1 is expected to go for two months so as to reach the planned depth of 3,200 metres.

According to one of the firm officials, the block was picked because it is identical with the ones on the northern shores of Madagascar where the company found more than 30 billion barrels of oil. Madagascar is said to fit well with Kenya where it originated from prior to the major plate breakup that happened about 150 million years ago.
Seismic indicators show what looks like gas-over-oil-over-water at its primary target.

Pancontinental, who own 15 per cent of the block, estimate that Mbawa 1 has a maximum potential to contain 4.9 Billion Barrels of oil and a gas cap of 284 Billion Cubic Feet in place at the main Tertiary- Cretaceous level with significant additional potential also to be tested by the well at the deeper Upper Jurassic level and shallower Tertiary levels. However, only drilling can verify the oil and gas volumetric potential (if any) at the well.

This is not the first time multinationals have sunk deep sea wells. In 2008, Woodside Energy, who were awarded a $7.5 million contract by Apache North Sea Limited to provide subsea engineering services, ended its drilling activities in Lamu after drilling 4,887M with no avail. In 2007, China National Offshore Oil Corporation surrendered four blocks so as to carry out seismic survey to map out potential deposits.

Onshore drilling is however continuing in other parts of the country with Tullow in the lead.

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