Marathon Oil Exits from Kenya and Ethiopia

Almost six months after Marathon Oil announced it had sought bids for of its onshore blocks in East Africa the American explorer has exited the region as the company focuses more on drilling in U.S shale formations.

In its latest financial statement the company says it has signed agreement for sale of East Africa exploration acreage at an undisclosed amount and to an undisclosed buyer.

“The Company signed an agreement in the third quarter to sell its Ethiopia and Kenya exploration acreage representing an exit from East Africa,” the company said in the statement.

Africa Oil East Africa acreageAmong the blocks that were up for sale included the South Omo concession in Ethiopia where Marathon holds 20 percent working interest acquired from Agriterra Limited in October 2012. Tullow Oil is the operator of the concession with a 50 percent working interest, and Africa Oil holds the remaining 30 percent working interest. The concession has an area of approximately 1.1 million net acres (5.4 million gross).

Marathon Oil was also a joint venture partner in the Ethiopia Rift Basin Area Block with 50 percent interest while Africa Oil is Operator and owns the remaining 50%.

The company also had lucrative acreage in Kenya especially Block 9 where the company alongside its joint venture partner Africa Oil discovered natural gas in the Sala 1 well. The Sala-2 appraisal well however failed find any significant hydrocarbons updip.

Kenya’s Block 9 is approximately 1.9 million net acres (3.9 million gross) along a prospective Cretaceous Rift Trend. Africa Oil with a 50 percent working interest is to operate during the exploration phase, and Marathon Oil was to assume the role of operator if a commercial discovery is made.

Marathon Oil also had a 15 percent working interest in Block 12A where Tullow Oil is the operator with a 65 percent working interest, and Africa Oil retains a 20 percent working interest.

Block 12A is approximately 750,000 net acres (5 million gross) and is contiguous with Block 10BB to the north, which contains the significant Ngamia-1 oil discovery.

Block Operator Tullow Oil has said it intends to drill its first exploration oil well named Cheptuket in Elgeyo Marakwet early next year, as the company continues to expand its oil and gas search into new areas within the country.

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