Qatar Petroleum is entering Kenya’s oil exploration scene after reaching an agreement to purchase a participating interest in oil blocks in the East African country.
In a deal that is subject to customary regulatory approvals by the government of Kenya, the state-run petroleum company said it had acquired a 25 percent stake (13.75 percent from Eni and 11.25 percent from Total) in three blocks located in the offshore Lamu Basin.
The blocks (L11A, L11B and L12) are situated in what is considered to be a frontier and largely unexplored area and have a total area of approximately 15,000 square kilometres, with water depths ranging from about 1000 meters to 3,000 meters.
“We are pleased to sign this agreement to participate in exploring these frontier offshore areas in Kenya and to further strengthen our presence in Africa,” the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, and President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, H.E. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, said.
Following the deal, the partners comprising the consortium will consist of affiliates from Eni (the operator) with a 41.25 percent stake in the block, Total’s with 33.75 percent and Qatar Petroleum with a 25 percent participating interest. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Al-Kaabi also expressed Qatar Petroleum’s hope that the exploration efforts are successful, as they look forward to collaborating with partners Eni and Total, and the government of Kenya in the exploration.
“In line with its growth strategy, this opportunity strengthens Qatar Petroleum’s position in the exploration of frontier basins with significant hydrocarbon resource potential,” the minister added.
With the acquisition of Kenya’s offshore blocks, Qatar Petroleum joins a growing list of global corporations seeking to exploit huge fuel deposits believed to be underneath the Indian Ocean seabed.
Moreover, the Qatari firm’s announcement signals the lifting of a ban on the issuance of new exploration licenses which Kenya introduced in 2016. The move was linked to a major drop in oil prices that resulted in low levels of investments in the industry.