Afren plans to drill and explore for oil in East Africa

Afren, a British oil company, is planning to drill 13 oil exploration wells in the eastern part of Africa in the next year or two. The drilling activity will cost not less than $120 million, according to a senior executive of the firm who emphasized more exploration in the area.

Afren, primarily based in Nigeria but with other assets in Kurdistan, also has shares in 11 oil exploration blocks located in Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles and Ethiopia. These alternative sites are currently undergoing both 2D and 3D seismic data, according to the company’s associate director, Galib Virani, during an oil and gas conference in East Africa.

In Kenya, Afren is a partner of two other British oil explorers, Africa Oil and Tullow Oil, in oil exploration Block 10-A. The three companies will be performing oil drilling in the 4,112-meter deep PaiPai-1 well in Marsabot County, located in northern Kenya.

The drilling program has begun, and wells will be prepared in the coming year or two in Tanzania’s Tanga Block, on Seychelles , on Madagascar, on Ethiopia’s acreage and on Kenya’s Blocks L17 and L18, said Virani.

It is too early to make a decision, but the company has a budget of not less than $120 million for oil drilling. The company itself will be the source of the funds, not outsiders.

East Africa has become a source of oil exploration following several discoveries that made the region internationally famous for having huge deposits of natural gas in Mozambique and Tanzania, and oil in Kenya and Uganda.

But Kenya still needs to determine if its current assets are commercially viable.

Afren, for its part, will be focusing on the completion of its oil drilling commitments before thinking of getting more exploration blocks, according to Director Virani. The company will be primarily focused on oil, so they are basically in search for it within all of their accessible acreage. Moreover, they have vast acreage across the eastern part of Africa and they will explore selectively. However, the main focus right now is getting results on the current exploration program.

Uganda, Kenya, Seychelles and Tanzania are all planning to auction new oil exploration blocks in the years to come.

By: Chris Termeer