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Energy Voices: Insights on the future of fuel and power

Is Kenya the future of oil?

Maxwell Birley, CEO of Nairobi, Kenya-based Taipan Resources Inc., discusses the future of oil in Kenya in an interview with Oilprice.com.

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Oilprice.com: Kenya is clearly the East African leader in oil infrastructure, and is now starting the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transit corridor (LAPSSET) project.  But it will cost $25 billion for the roads, the 1200 km pipeline and 120,000 barrel-per-day refinery. How feasible do think this project is and why? Is it feasible in the timeframe projected by Nairobi?

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Maxwell Birley: The resources in Uganda and to some extend south Sudan must be exported. A pipeline through Kenya seems to be the most feasible.

Regarding the time line, having 2.5 billion barrels sitting in the ground just west of Kenya in Uganda is a really strong motivation to build the pipeline quickly.  In South Sudan I think they started pumping oil back up north again now, but I think they will want to go through Kenya in the near future.

Whether it’s LAPSSET or the Tullow consortium someone is going to build a pipeline through Kenya to the coast in the next few years. We think the pipeline will be located within 175 kilometres from our acreage. The pipeline will be good for everybody in the region but it should be particularly positive for us.

So when we make a discovery on Block 2B, the pipeline will be in the construction phase. In the interim we’ll truck the oil by bowser the early production from the fields. Then, depending on the size of any discoveries, we’ll build a connecting pipeline into the pipeline from Uganda. I think we’re in a very fortunate position now.

Oilprice.com: In terms of exploration what are the ‘sweet spots’ in Kenya?

Maxwell Birley: Definitely the Anza Basin.  Currently, the proven sweet spots are in the Tertiary sediments of the rift basins of Uganda and Kenya. More specifically to Kenya in the Lokichar Basin as proven by the Ngamia and Twiga wells by Africa Oil.

These basins form part of the larger East African Rift system. This is a very extensive rift system and many new plays will be discovered in the next few years.  The Anza Basin is the largest of these East African rift basins and 10 times the size of Uganda’s Albertine Basin and Kenya’s Lokichar Basin. This rift contains Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments.

Taipan is exploring for oil in the south eastern end of the Anza basin. Located on block 2B we have proven more than 9,500 feet of Tertiary section on the block. From the geochemical modelling we have undertaken we see the same oil source rocks in the Anza Basin that are present in the Lokichar basin, which  are highly likely to be mature for oil generation on Block 2B. In addition we also believe that more oil discoveries will be made in the Cretaceous and Jurassic basins if you can find favourable places to drill.

Oilprice.com:  What has Taipan’s proprietary technical work in Block 2B in the Anza Basin demonstrated so far?

Maxwell Birley: The Anza basin has proven oil-prone Cretaceous source that in places is potentially in the gas window (Bogal gas discovery), however our technical work has also demonstrated that the basin has an active Tertiary lacustrine (lake) oil source that is in the oil window. Consequently, the Anza basin has an excellent chance of being a much more significant oil producing basin than the small rift basins that have so far been discovered.

Oilprice.com: And that’s what you’re really chasing here—with these roughly 10 million acres in the Anza Basin—the tertiary play...

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