Kenyan Petroleum Commissioner Martin Heya told Bloomberg News that Tullow was planning two test wells in northern Kenya this year. Energy explorer Apache Corp. might follow suit off Kenya's coast in 2012, he added.
Tullow Oil announced in May that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Uganda that lets it move forward with energy development in the country. Kenya, however, doesn't have proven reserves and the number of exploratory wells drilled in the country pales in comparison with its neighbors.
Dragan Trajkov, an energy analyst at London's Renaissance Capital, told Bloomberg News that Tullow moving into Kenya could trigger more interest in the country's energy sector.
Heya added that now was the time to work on the country's fledgling energy sector before constitutional regulations become law.
"The level of activity is at a high and we think once Tullow starts drilling we must prepare ourselves for even more interest," he was quoted as saying. "The more wells that are drilled, the faster a discovery will be made."