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Africa Oil Stock Hits 15-Year Record on Kenya Oil Find

Africa Oil Corp. surged to the highest point in more than 15 years after the exploration company found additional oil in Kenya.

The shares rose 35 percent to C$7.82 at the close in Toronto, the highest price since Oct. 28, 1996. The Vancouver-based company said more oil than previously reported was found at the Ngamia-1 well where it holds a 50 percent working interest, according to a statement today.

The block is operated by the U.K. explorer Tullow Oil Plc., which holds the remaining 50 percent, according to the statement. Markets were closed in London today for a holiday.

Four additional “good quality, oil-bearing reservoir zones” have been discovered since an initial announcement on March 26. The well has been deepened almost 500 meters (1,640 feet) from 1,041 meters, Africa Oil said. The well will now be drilled deeper to about 2,700 meters, it said.

Africa Oil’s shares have quadrupled in the past 12 months, valuing the company at C$1.71 billion ($1.72 billion).

Oil and natural-gas explorers have taken notice of East Africa, which sits on the Great Rift Valley, spurred by the discovery of oil in Uganda in 2006, deposits in Tanzania and Kenya’s recent find. While Tullow plans to start small-scale oil production this year in Uganda and Tanzania produces gas from two offshore fields, no commercial discoveries have been made yet in Kenya.

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