There is an excitement in Kipeto village in Kajiado County after a company contracted to drill for water hit a flammable gas at a depth of around 200 meters that has been burning for days and what locals perceive to be natural gas in what is block 14T operated by National Oil Corporation of Kenya.
The find at Inkorkirdinga Farm located at Kipeto village, Kajiado west constituency according to workers drilling the borehole after they were startled by the strange noise at the hole after they failed to struck water 200 metres underground.
“Pressed by curiosity, the workers lit a matchbox and it immediately caught fire. The odourless gas is now burning day and night,” our source at the village told OilNews Kenya.
The block which is part of the tertiary rift basin along the rift valley has seen various studies in the past few years including a planned seismic acquisition by Chinese geophysical company BGP Kenya with drilling expected in 2018 according to National Oil.
Experts while acknowledging that this is surely a significant step in the county are quick to caution that the find could be coal based methane (an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal) found in shallow wells and sometimes an indicator of natural gas deeper in the surface which can also be used to generate energy.
According to CEO at Oil and Energy services and former Managing Director at National Oil Corporation Mwendia Nyaga there is need for extensive testing and community sensitization to educate them of the various opportunities to tame expectations.
“Given the depth involved in water drilling there is a high likelihood that the find is not convectional natural gas associated and thus the gaseous substance could be coal bed methane. This is however surely a good sign for the county as prove of a positive result on the identity of the gas could encourage more exploration activity ultimately leading to revenue for the community and county,” Mwendia Nyaga told OilNews Kenya.
On the way forward he says the community will have to liaise with the National Oil Corporation to allow for further studies before any conclusion can be made. Officials from NOCK have reached the borehole drilling site today morning according to our source to verify information emanating from the area.
“Communities living around this area should manage their expectations as studies are underway to establish the finding while acquiring the relevant information from the agencies concerned,” Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group said in a statement.
Residents have been adviced to stay away from the site for their own safety and security.
It is estimated that the depth to basement in the block ranges starting 500 meters to 4000 meters according to Kenya Basins Structural Framework Map.