Kenya to ‘speed up new laws for oil and gas explorations’

offshore kenya-chad teer wikimedia commons optKenya currently has 46 blocks, of which 44 are licensed to 23 explorers. (Image source: Chad Teer/Wikimedia Commons)Kenya’s Ministry of Energy has announced that the country will need to speed up efforts to adopt required legislation for oil and gas exploration in the country

Davis Chirchir, Kenya's energy and petroleum secretary, said, “The extractive industry in Kenya today is ahead of legislation and is ahead of the policy frameworks.

“So we need to quickly finish the document, confirm from the industry players that they are happy with it, and take it through the legislative process.”

Chirchir, however, did not provide an exact timeframe for when the natural gas regulations and overhaul of existing petroleum laws would be done.

Kenya, where substantial oil discoveries have been made in the northwestern part of the country, had last updated its petroleum rules in 1986.

Chirchir added that companies licensed to prospect for oil and gas in the country’s blocks were reluctant to do so for fear of discovering gas without a suitable legal and fiscal framework to commercialise it.

Kenya currently has 46 blocks, of which 44 are licensed to 23 explorers. Seven additional blocks will be delineated soon, the Ministry of Energy noted.

He said that given the increased interest by explorers, the country plans to offer smaller blocks for exploration and ask companies to speed up their exploration.

US consultant firm Hunton & Williams and UK-based Challenge Energy have recommended the new laws include a clear delineation of roles in the policy-making for the upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the sector to avert overlaps.

UK-listed Tullow Oil and Australia’s Pancontinental Oil & Gas had, in September 2012, said that their licence consortium’s operator Apache Corporation found gas in the Mbawa-1 shallow well in the Indian Ocean.

 

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