• Tullow said to plan eight more exploration wells in Lokichar
  • Nation holds 750 million barrels of recoverable resources

Tullow Oil Plc will put Kenya on the map of oil producers by the first quarter of 2017 and drill eight additional exploration wells in the African nation’s North Lokichar region, President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

Exports will commence three months later, with the crude being transported by road to the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa, Kenyatta said in an e-mailed statement after he met with Tullow’s chief operating officer, Paul McDade. Kenya’s recoverable resources are estimated at 750 million barrels.

Tullow will sink more wells to increase that figure to over a billion barrels, according to the statement. Initial production will be 2,000 barrels per day, with road transport to Mombasa a stopgap measure until Kenya constructs a pipeline.

Kenya’s government has signed an agreement to develop that conduit with Tullow, Africa Oil Corp. and Maersk Oil Gas AS, according to the statement. The pipeline will link fields in the northwestern Lokichar region to a planned port in the coastal town of Lamu.

East Africa’s biggest economy is racing ahead with production plans after neighboring Uganda spurned it as host of a pipeline to transport that country’s own estimated 1.7 billion barrels of resources. Kenyan authorities in June said they would begin work on a 865-kilometer (538-mile) pipeline in 2018.

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