Workers at the Ngamia
1 oil rig in Turkana
county, northern Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya — 29 June 2012 – Tullow Oil has halted the drilling of its well in northwestern Kenya after hitting a geological formation, and may soon start assessing the commercial viability of the well where it had announced the country’s first oil discovery.

Tullow country manager in Kenya, Martin Mbogo, said the company had hit an unexpected geological formation about 400m short of its original projected target depth of 2,700m in the Ngamia-1 well.

“If it can’t go further, then Tullow will start appraising the contents of the well and will move the drilling rig west to spud its second Kenyan well this year,” the Africa-focused British firm said.

Mbogo said it was still too soon to discuss whether the well, in the country’s Turkana region, could ultimately lead Kenya into oil production. He also declined to give a figure on how many barrels the well needed to contain in order to be commercially viable.

“It depends a lot on the price of oil and infrastructure in place,” he added. “We will release an operational update as soon as some tests are done, in about two weeks’ time.”

In March, the explorer announced that Ngamia-1 held Kenya’s first oil discovery – one in a series of major hydrocarbon finds in east Africa that has made the region a hotspot in oil and gas exploration.

Some 30km west of Ngamia-1, Tullow is prepping its next drill site, known as Twiga-1, to receive the rig.

Source: Reuters. For more information, click here.