Kenya Says Talking With BG, Dominion over 3 Oil Block Licenses

The Kenyan government is holding talks with U.K.-based integrated gas company BG Group and Dominion Petroleum over the licenses of three exploration oil blocks off the Kenyan coast, a Kenyan government official said Thursday.

The government is in advanced talks with the two companies and expects to issue exploration licenses by April, Martin Mwaisakenyi Heya, the commissioner in charge of petroleum at the Energy Ministry told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the East African Petroleum Conference.

"BG is interested in three blocks while Dominion is interested in one block," he said adding that the offshore blocks in question are Block L9, L10A and L10B.

According to Heya, the discovery of oil in Uganda's Lake Albertine rift basin has spurred interest in Kenya's oil sector and more international companies continue to apply for exploration licenses, currently at least 22 oil blocks have been licensed to a number of companies, including U.K.-based Tullow Oil, which operates in neighboring Uganda.

Kenya issuing the licenses on a first come, first served basis, he added.

According to Heya, Kenya's Western Rift Valley has similar geological properties to the Uganda's Lake Albertine rift.

"The Ugandan discovery has de-risked the entire East African rift which stretches through Kenya to Malawi," he added.

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