US’ Apache set for ‘Kenya exit’

Flag map of Kenya09 October 2013, News Wires – Apache is poised to exit a deep-water block off Kenya after the US independent decided to abandon its exploration effort in the East African country, according to a report.

The company now intends to relinquish its 50% stake in Block L-08 – its sole Kenyan asset – after finding only non-commercial volumes of gas with its Mbawa-1 well last year.

“We determined that other areas in our worldwide portfolio provided better opportunities for future capital investments,” Apache senior vice president of corporate affairs Bob Dye informed Reuters, adding the Kenyan authorities had been notified of the company’s decision to surrender the stake.

Apache had recently committed to drill a follow-up wildcat at the Kipungu prospect next year in the block, where it is partnered by UK player Tullow Oil and Australia’s ancontinental.

Dye underlined the company’s decision was not influenced by a militant attack last month on a Nairobi shopping mall that left at least 67 people dead and has raised questions over the security of facilities being used for oil and gas exploration.

While Tullow and partner Africa Oil have been successful in making onshore oil discoveries in Kenya’s prospective Lokichar basin, the country has yet to tap the potential of its deep-water play as it seeks to emulate neighbours Tanzania and Mozambique where major gas finds have been made.

Kenya is now looking to launch its first formal licensing round, having mapped out at least seven exploration blocks including both onshore and offshore acreage.

– Upstream

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