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Petroleum Exploration in Kenya started in the 1950’s. BP and Shell began exploring in 1954 in the Lamu Embayment. They eventually drilled 10 wells with the first well drilled in 1960. Some of the wells had oil shows.
In 1975 a number of consortia acquired acreage in the upper part of the Lamu Basin. Texas Pacific drilled Hargaso-1 in 1975 and encountered oil and gas shows in the Cretaceous. In 1976 Chevron and Esso drilled Anza-1 and Bahati-1 in the southern part of Anza Basin, also encountering shows. Three wells were drilled in the offshore Lamu Basin in 1982 (Simba-1, Maridadi-1 and Kofia-1) by a consortium of Cities Services, Marathon and Union.
In 1986 legislation in Kenya was revised and the Government entered into a joint venture with Petro-Canada International Assistance Corporation. Seismic work was conducted and the deep Kencan-1 well was drilled. A group of companies led by Amoco and Total then drilled 10 wells between 1985 and 1990. Eight of them were located in the Anza Basin and 2 in the Mandera Basin. Total drilled Ndovu-1, Duma-1 and Kaisut-1 in the North Anza Basin while Amoco drilled Sirius-1, Bellatrix-1 and Chalbi-3 in the Northwest Anza Basin and Hothori-1 well in the South Anza Basin. Some wells had oil and gas shows.
Amoco farmed out 50% to Shell who drilled Eliye Springs-1 and Loperot-1 west of Lake Turkana in a Tertiary Rift Basin. Waxy oil was recovered from a Miocene sandstone interval in the Loperot-1 well.
From 1991 to 1995 a Lamu Basin study was conducted and the Lamu embayment was subdivided into 10 exploration blocks leading to the signing of 7 PSCs covering blocks L5, L6, L7, L8, L9, L10 & L11 between 2000 and 2002. A total of 7884 kms of 2D seismic data was acquired offshore by Woodside in 2003.
Meanwhile a Tertiary Rift Study was conducted, which was completed in 2001.
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