Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says French supermajor Total committed to an oil pipeline to the nation's eastern shores. File photo by Dai Kurokawa/EPA-EFE
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- French energy company Total may buy off Kenyan oil blocks and commit to a single pipeline for exports, the office of the Kenyan president said.
Manoah Esipisu, a spokesman for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, said Total committed to a single pipeline to the port city of Lamu as the only option to take oil from the country's Lokichar fields. The commitment followed a meeting in Nairobi with Momar Nguer, a member of the French company's executive committee.
"President Kenyatta welcomed this commitment, which will fasten the development of the resources for the benefit of the Kenyan people," Esipisu said in a statement.
With the pipeline commitment in order, the Kenyatta administration said it signed off on the proposed acquisition by Total of three oil licenses held by the exploration arm of Maersk Oil.
Africa-focused energy company Tullow Oil last year made an oil discovery in a region of Kenya thought to contain at least 750 million barrels of oil. Exploration Director Angus McCoss said in a statement the discovery was a significant component of the company's regional portfolio given the extent of the reservoir.
Tullow is a partner with African Oil Corp. and Maersk Oil on the project. An independent review carried out for Africa Oil found reserves in the South Lokichar basin revealed an estimated gross of 766 million barrels of oil, a 24 percent increase from the previous estimate.
Kenya aims to build the crude oil pipeline to the coast with the help of Tullow Oil and its partners.
Tullow said it's busy reviewing all of the data from the South Lokichar basin and plans to outline a plan for development possibly as early as this year.
The company in late 2014 came up empty-handed while drilling into similar frontier basins in northern Kenya, despite early optimism
None of the companies tied to the Lokichar basin offered public comments on the meetings with the Kenyan president.