Cnooc Plans to Drop Two Kenya Exploration Licenses After Finding Nothing

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore energy explorer, told the Kenyan government it plans to drop licenses to search for oil and gas in two Kenyan blocks by December, an official said.

“They didn’t discover anything so they don’t want to continue,” Mines and Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike said in an interview today in Nairobi, the capital. The Chinese company had licenses to explore in block 9 in northern Kenya and L2, an inland area in the Lamu Basin.

The Chinese company worked with Africa Oil Corp. and Lion Energy Corp. to drill an exploratory well in Block 9.

“They are saying it didn’t give results,” said Nyoike. Africa Oil may continue exploring, he said.

Cnooc is interested in working with U.K. explorer Tullow Oil Plc and Africa Oil to search in five other blocks in Kenya, proposing to take a 20 percent stake, said Nyoike.

“Cnooc believe they have the experience to be good partners,” Nyoike said.

Kenya has four sedimentary basins that have been divided into 38 exploration blocks with a combined surface area of 400,000 square kilometers (156,000 square miles), Nyoike said in July. About 24 of the blocks are being explored, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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