Why all eyes are on CEPSA’s Tarach-1 well in Kenya

2016 has been a rather hard year for the upstream sector globally which has led to job cuts, trimming of operations, lack of ready finance as investors seek faster returns among other unfavorable outcomes.In Kenya particularly the rig count is down to just one at any one time with the current SMP-1 rig drilling the wildcat Tarach-1 well in Block 11A and which is expected to take 60 days to complete.

Although this is the first well in the block many players in the sector in Kenya are watching the outcome with a more positive expectation more than any other such well in recent history.

This is as the Tarach-1 well might be the only well in the works this years and a discovery is expected to lead to a second well.

The Tarach-1 prospect whose mean estimate of oil prospective unrisked resources is 66 million barrels is located in the Tarach basin on the Eastern part of the block and has in trend relationship with the Abu Gabra rift basins of Southern Sudan suggesting high oil an gas prospectivity.

The block is also in close proximity to discoveries by Tullow Oil to the south with an estimated 600 million barrels estimated to be in place.

A discovery could then reawaken hopes for a second well in the Block whose drilling is believed to have been shelved for the meantime.

Other than Tarach-1 a number of other were expected in 2016 including one in Block L19 operated by Rift Energy which was scheduled to commence by the end of Q1 with a source claiming it is unlikely that the well will be drilled this year.

According to Vice President of Operations at Rift Energy Tom Guidish the company is committed to drill a well in the block within the said timelines.

“I wish to clarify our position that yes we are still planning to start drilling a well on Block L-19 this year, and neither timing nor location has changed,” Tom Guidish told OilNews.

Another well that was planned to be drilled by Zarara Oil and Gas in Block L4 is also said to be in doubt with the company yet to receive the needed finances. Already the operator has been granted an 18 month licence extension through to June 2017, to the First Additional Exploration Period on Block L4 and L13 production sharing contracts.

Other wells that have been shelved include the planned Mlima well by Anadarko in the offshore Block L11A. The play-opening exploration deep water well in Kenya by Anadarko was part of nine to 12 deepwater exploration/appraisal wells planned for 2015/16 in various licenses including Colombia and Gulf of Mexico.

This said it is clear Tarach-1 well is the only well likely in Kenya in 2016.

CEPSA has 55% share in Block 11A  while ERHC, and the State-run National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) have 35% and 10% respectively.

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