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Apache holds out hope for Kenya

Sept. 13, 2012 at 6:54 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Finding no oil but natural gas at an offshore Kenya exploration well, Apache Corp. said the zone deserves further evaluation from its partners.

Apache said it encountered around 170 feet of natural gas across three zones during drilling offshore at the Mbawa-1 well.

"Although no oil was encountered, the presence of hydrocarbons warrants further evaluation," the company said in a statement.

British energy company Tullow, one of Apache's partners, expressed similar sentiments about the region this week. The company said it drilled to 10,338 feet to examine a secondary target but no hydrocarbons were found.

Energy companies are eying potential basins in the West African country. Kenyan Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying that while no resources proved commercial thus far, there was cause for optimism.

"The results give us encouragement that the next well to be drilled in the block will likely result in a bigger discovery because of the geological information being gathered from this well," he said.

Kenya is to have presidential elections in 2013. More than 1,000 people were killed in fighting between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and those of rival Raila Odinga, now prime minister, during 2007 elections. Tribal violence and fallout from conflict in neighboring Somalia have become heightened security threats.

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