Kenyans will have to wait for at least three more years before the country can export its first oil.
In its annual statement, British firm Tullow Oil says the South Lokichar basin appraisal programme has confirmed material oil resources to support substantial oil production and an export pipeline to the Kenyan coast pending a Final Investment Decision (FID) which is planned for 2019.
The proposed development plan reflects the Partnership’s desire to sanction the project in a manner that is commercially robust, ensures the earliest possible FID and First Oil and supports the required infrastructure given the location of the South Lokichar basin some 750 km from the Kenyan coast.
A total of 21 appraisal wells have been drilled in the South Lokichar basin.
“Tullow has also conducted extended well tests, water injection tests, well interference tests and water-flood trials, all of which have proved invaluable for planning the development of the oil fields,” the firm said.
“The appraisal campaign has firmed up the Group’s resource estimates and improved Tullow’s understanding of the subsurface at the key producing fields,” it added.
Following a full assessment of all the exploration and appraisal data, Tullow estimates that the South Lokichar basin contains the following recoverable resources: 240 – 560 – 1,230 million barrels of oil from an overall discovered stock tank oil of up to 4 billion barrels.
This estimate of recoverable resources is consistent with previous guidance provided during the exploration and appraisal phase of 750 million barrels of oil.
The additional remaining conventional undrilled prospect inventory of the basin is approximately 230 million barrels risked mean recoverable, not including further potential in tight-oil plays in the future.
Tullow and its Joint Venture Partners have proposed to the Government of Kenya that the Amosing and Ngamia fields should be developed as the Foundation Stage of the South Lokichar development.
This stage would include a 60,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil per day Central Processing Facility (CPF) and an export pipeline to Lamu.
“This approach brings significant benefits as it enables an early FID of the Amosing and Ngamia fields taking full advantage of the current low-cost environment for both the field and infrastructure development and provides the best opportunity to deliver First Oil in a timeline that meets the Government of Kenya (GoK) expectations,” the statement said.
The installed infrastructure from this initial phase can then be utilized for the optimization of the remaining South Lokichar oil fields, allowing the incremental development of these fields to be completed at a lower unit cost post-First Oil.
The Foundation Stage is currently planned to involve an initial 210 wells through 18 well pads at Ngamia and 70 wells through seven well pads at Amosing. This stage will target volumes of around 210 million barrels of oil of the total estimated resources of 560 million and a plateau rate of 60,000 to 80,000 barrels per day.
It is anticipated that the FEED and baseline Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for the foundation development will commence in the second quarter of 2018, with FID targeted for 2019 and First Oil for 2021/22.
Total gross capex associated with the Foundation Stage is expected to be $2.9 billion (Sh290 billion), of which $1.8 billion (Sh180billion) is an investment in the upstream and $1.1 billion (Sh110 billion) is for the pipeline.
Tullow and its Joint Venture Partners, following the extended election period, have re-engaged with representatives of the Government of Kenya on the overall approach and timelines for progressing the development.
The Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) Agreement between the Joint Venture Partners and the Government of Kenya was signed on 14 March 2017 allowing all EOPS upstream contracts to be awarded.
“Initial injectivity testing has started at Ngamia-11 and oil production and water injection facilities are being constructed in the field ready to commence production/injection in the first quarter of 2018,” the statement said.
Oil produced is being initially stored until all necessary consents and approvals are granted and work is completed for the transfer of crude oil to Mombasa by road.