Kenya will auction new oil and gas exploration blocks, spurred by avid interest from recent auctions related to its previous discoveries earlier this year.

The Energy Ministry consultant geologist Alfred Odawa told Reuters as saying that Tullow Oil and Anadarko Petroleum would surrender acreage in a total seven blocks in coming weeks as required in their production-sharing contracts with the government.

"They are surrendering their portion (of the blocks), and we’ll use that to make blocks again," Odawa added.

"The companies are going to give up the part of the blocks that are the least valuable to them. Then we will survey and figure out what to do with (the acreage)."

Tullow Oil is expected to shed a portion of acreage in onshore block 10BB and block 13T and Anadarko will give up 25% of each of its five offshore blocks.

Both the companies are likely to finalize by September the quarter of their blocks they want to offload after which the government will open a licensing round, though interest in the surrendered licenses has increased.

Under the existing contract, explorers must surrender a quarter of their blocks after two years in case of onshore blocks and offshore blocks after three years.

Currently, 45 of Kenya’s existing 46 blocks have been taken up while discussions for the last, L26 in deepwater offshore, are in final stages and a lease with Statoil for the unlicensed block is close to settlement.

Majority of the international exploration companies holding the licenses in the country are US based including Anadarko, Pacific Seaboard Investment and Rift Energy.

Companies are interested in Kenyan exploration blocks and even the Energy ministry intends to lease it to interested companies, with more money coming to the country from fresh licensing for exploration, the report said.