The significant discovery was made by Australian company, Pancontinental Oil & Gas, and joint venture partners, Tullow Oil, Apache and Origin Energy.
The Mbawa-1 well hit 52 net metres of gas pay in the primary Cretaceous sandstone target, Pancontinental said.
According to the company, the well is still drilling towards a planned total depth of 3,275 metres, and there is a secondary target reservoir along the way.
Barry Rushworth, the comapny’s chief executive officer, said Mbawa is “the first ever substantive hydrocarbon discovery offshore Kenya. We are delighted to prove that there is a working hydrocarbon system offshore Kenya.
“With drilling continuing to a deeper exploration target, these interim results may be the first part of the story in this well, and they are certainly just the beginning of the main story of oil and gas exploration offshore Kenya.”
The well is being drilled using the drillship Deepsea Metro 1 in a water depth of 860 metres.