CAMAC has been forced to stop a planned seismic acquisition programme through Kenya’s coastal area’s Arabuko-Sokoke forest after environmentalists protested the acquisition of two seismic lines through the largest stretch of coastal dry forest remaining in Eastern Africa and second in Africa in birdlife conservation from Congo.
According to the company’s managing director Augustin Nkuba the decision by CAMAC comes even as the company holds the believe that its actions would not lead to any adverse effects in the forest.
“We have made this decision in spite of the fact that we have complied with all recommendations and government requirements and also believe that the acquisition would not have had an adverse effect on the ecosystem in the forest. However, with the concerns raised we will not acquire the two seismic lines within the forest as previously planned. ” Nkuba is quoted by The Star newspaper.
CAMAC says it plans to conduct its work within Environmental and Social Impact study that has already been carried out by Kenya’s National Enviromental Management Authority (NEMA) as well as two government agencies in charge of forests and wildlife the Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
“We are committed to working with the National and County governments, the communities we are operating and all stakeholders” the firm’s MD stated.
Polaris Seismic International Limited has been engaged to conduct a 2D seismic survey covering 125,000 acres (506 sq. km.) within Block L16 partly onshore and partly offshore Kenya.
The objectives of the seismic surveys according to CAMAC are to identify the geologic prospect elements that could lead to a commercial hydrocarbon discovery and meet the obligations of the work program.“In addition to the environmental and social impact assessment that has been completed, and the airborne gravity and magnetic survey data that has been acquired, these 2D seismic surveys will continue to advance our work program and our understanding of the petroleum resource potential in these blocks,” said Segun Omidele, CAMAC Energy’s Senior Vice President of Exploration and Production said in September.
The environmentalists opposed to the seismic acquisition have said they doubt NEMA’s environmental assessment that gave the go ahead to CAMAC.
Arabuko-Sokoke forest is home to 270 birds, 261 butterflies, 79 amphibians, 52 mammals and 600 plants species.
CAMAC Energy is the operator in the block holding with a 100% net interest while the Kenyan government has the option to participate up to 20% upon development.