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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Maxwell Birley: Agreed. What we’re primarily chasing in Block 2B is the same Tertiary oil play that Tullow inherited originally in Uganda. The discoveries there were the main reason Africa Oil and Tullow drilled the Ngamia and Twiga oil wells in Kenya—which have also been very successful. Of course, don’t overlook the fact we also have a secondary Cretaceous oil play in the block, that appears to be broadly analogous to the Cretaceous plays present in the Muglad Melut basins of southern Sudan and is the main focus of exploration efforts in Block 10A, operated by Africa Oil Corp. (Related Article: Refiners Pursue More Pipelines amid Big Gains)Skip to next paragraph
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Regarding the rest of our acreage, in Block 1 for example where we have a 20% interest in a 31,781 Km2 block we are chasing older Cretaceous, Jurassic and Permo-Triassic plays. The block is located in an extension of the successful Ogaden Basin of Ethiopia and Somalia. We think the block will be very prospective as it is surrounded by oil seeps and a well that recovered oil on test.
The 2 blocks combined makes us the 4th largest acreage holder in Kenya. In terms of near-term drilling and catalysts in the region, we have Tertiary, Cretaceous and Jurassic plays on Block 1 and Block 2B that will be drilled in the next 12 to 18 months.
Oilprice.com: Tell us what 2013 will look like for exploration in Kenya?
Maxwell Birley: Ten exploration wells should be drilled in Kenya in 2013. Based on the previous success rate it is expected that a significant number of these will be discoveries. Tullow will continue drilling wells on Blocks 10BB and 13T on the west side of the country to find more oil in that string of pearls.
Also we shall shortly get the results of the Paipai-1 well which is currently drilling in northern part of the Anza Basin. The well is testing Cretaceous & Jurassic plays, with a potential 121 million barrels. Other wells including Sabisa and Kinyonga also expected to be drilled in 2013.
Oilprice.com: For Kenya, a discovery at Paipai-1 would prove that oil discoveries of Sudan extend into Kenya. What would it mean for Taipan?
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Maxwell Birley: There have already been Cretaceous gas discoveries in Kenya. Taipan believes that if you can find the Cretaceous that has not been buried too deep it will be prospective for oil. However we think the Paipai well is very high risk as it seems likely to be a recent tectonic inversion structure and therefore may be breached by recent faulting. We think we can find on Block 2B Cretaceous structures that are oil prone that have not been breached by recent faulting. So if that well does come in then it is going to be good news for the Anza Basin in general, but if dry it will not write off the Cretaceous potential in our block. Having said that I should point out that this is not our main focus at this time.
Oilprice.com: What about other prospects, like the Kinyonga well?
Maxwell Birley: Kinyonga is the next big prospect that is going to be drilled by Africa Oil Corp. and that is very meaningful for us. Kinyonga, which is on Block 9, will be located relatively close to our block, is both Tertiary and Cretaceous prospect. It has an unrisked resource estimate of 320 million barrels prospective, and it is one of the largest prospects in Africa Oil’s portfolio of drilling targets. Africa Oil also has another prospect called Pundamilia which is even closer to our block. This prospect has a unrisked resource Best estimate of 402 million barrels and a High estimate of 952 million barrels which I believe is the largest prospect in Africa Oil’s portfolio.
Oilprice.com: And what is the status of Kinoyonga?
Maxwell Birley: The timeline Africa Oil report for Kinoyonga is the 2nd half of 2013.
Oilprice.com: That would be a pretty big corollary for Taipan ….
Maxwell Birley: I think that even prior to getting those drilling results; investors are going to become more aware that the Tertiary play extends into our block. This was proven by the Hothori well which encountered 9500 ft. of Tertiary sediments. Better than this based on seismic data we estimate that in parts of the block there could be greater than 15,000 feet of Tertiary sediments.
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