Oil: Qatar acquires three oil blocks on Kenyan waters

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 00:00 |
Oil exploration areas.

The Qatar government, through State-owned Qatar Petroleum, has acquired part of Kenyan offshore oil and gas exploration areas in the Indian Ocean, near the fields that are subject to a maritime delimitation dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

This is part of the multinational’s strategy to strengthen its presence in Africa and expand its global exploration activities, having also signed a similar deal with the Namibian government.

Qatar Petroleum, according to a report by Reuters yesterday, signed the Kenyan deal with Total, which is a French multinational oil and gas company, and the Italian-rooted Eni, to take over 25 per cent of the stakes at offshore L11A, L11B and L12 blocks which are not part of the dispute.

Participating interests

Total made an entry in the Lamu basin in 2011 when it acquired 40 per cent interest in five exploratory blocks- L5, L7, L11a, L11b and L12 from Anadarko Kenya Co, Dynamic Global Advisors and Cove Energy PLC.

Eni has a 41.3 per cent participating interest, Total will keep a 33.8 per cent interest and Qatar Petroleum will curve 25 per cent.  The three offshore blocks are situated in what is considered to be a frontier and largely unexplored area in the Lamu basin.  

It has a total area of around 15,000 square kilometres, with water depths ranging from about 1,000 metres to 3,000m.

The blocks are far south of the section which Somalia is claiming stake, in a row that has resulted in a diplomatic rift that is now also subject to a case at The Hague-based International Court of Justice.

Somalia filed the boundary delimitation dispute on August 28, 2014, staking a claim on an estimated 62,000 square miles oil-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean and has been seeking to have the sea border extended along the land boarder.

If the plea is granted, it could limit Kenya’s access to high seas on its Indian Ocean shore, technically rendering the country landlocked.

President and chief executive of Qatar Petroleum Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said the deal will strengthen the firm’s position in the exploration of frontier basins with significant hydrocarbon resource potential.

“We are pleased to participate in exploring these frontier offshore areas in Kenya and to further strengthen our presence in Africa. We hope that the exploration efforts are successful, and we look forward to collaborating with Eni and Total, and the government of Kenya in these blocks,” he said in a statement on the firm’s website.

Last month, fresh details from a leaked document revealed that Somalia floated for auction 15 blocks for the minerals within Kenya’s territorial waters alongside four contested oil blocks within the seabed.

Those offered for auction are blocks 131, 142, 152 and 153 located in Galmudug and referred to as Obbia Basin, blocks 164, 165, 166, 177, 178 and 179 in Hirshabelle or Coriole Basin, and blocks 189, 190, 204, 218 and 219 located on the Lamu Basin, which is Kenya’s territorial waters.

Floated wells

The document named ‘Offshore Somalia 2019’ that was leaked from Somalia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, shows five oil blocks in Lamu are part of those Somalia has floated to investors.

The first exploration well, according to Sherida, is scheduled to be drilled in the first half of next year, adding that Total will give another boost to Qatar Petroleum efforts towards implementing its international growth strategy.

Blocks 2913B and 2912 sit adjacent to one another offshore block in Namibia. Block 2913B is 2,600 to 3,300 metres deep with an area of about 8,215km squared, while Block 2912 is 3,300 to 3,800m deep with an area of about 7,813km squared.

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