Africa Oil has secured the operatorship of Kenya’s Block 9 and has entered into the first additional exploration phase under the block’s production sharing contract (PSC), together with co-venturer Lion Energy.

After the withdrawal of its two other joint venture partners, Africa Oil will now hold a 66.7% working interest in the PSC and has been approved by the government as operator of Block 9 while Lion will hold the remaining 33.3%.

As a condition of entering the first additional exploration phase, 25% of the original contract area will be relinquished.

The first additional exploration phase began on 31 December 2010 and will expire on 31 December 2013 with a one well work commitment (minimum depth 1,500m).

During the previous exploration period, the joint venture partners drilled one well to a depth of 5,085m and discovered a potentially large gas accumulation.

Gas shows and petrophysical analysis of wireline logs indicated multiple gas pay zones totaling approximately 91 meters in Lower Cretaceous sandstones.

Preliminary testing on two of these potential gas pay zones was undertaken, with only minimal flow of gas from each zone.

Analysis of the test results indicates that neither test was in communication with the extensive fracture network proven by the abundant fluid losses during drilling and the Formation Micro Imaging (FMI) log.

The well was plugged and an additional testing program, which may include fracture and acid stimulation, is being considered to assess the production potential of these reservoirs.