State-owned Qatar Petroleum has fully bought three oil exploration blocs in the Indian Ocean within Kenya’s territory.
The three blocs are said to be adjacent to the region that has been the subject of a maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia.
Qatar Petroleum signed the deal with Total, a French multinational oil and gas company, and the Italian-rooted Eni both which have ownership of the oil fields.
The Qataris are to take over 25 per cent of the stakes at offshore L11A, L11B and L12 blocks, which are not part of the dispute.
Total made an entry in Lamu Basin in 2011, when it acquired 40 per cent interest in five exploratory blocks- L5, L7, Lila, LI lb and LI 2 from Anadarko Kenya Co, Dynamic Global Advisors and Cove Energy PLC.
The Italian company, Eni has a 41.3 per cent participating interest. Total will keep a 33.8 per cent interest.
The three offshore blocks are situated in what is considered to be a frontier and largely unexplored area in the Lamu Basin.
The oil blocs that have been sold to the Qatari government are said to be approximately 15,000 square feet with water depths ranging from about 1,000 metres to 3,000 metres.
The first exploration well is scheduled for drilling by the State-owned company in the first half of 2020.
This sale comes barely three days after President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off a ship carrying Kenya’s first batch of exported crude oil.
The oil, drilled in the Lokichar Basin in Turkana County, was sold to a UK-based Chinese firm, ChemChina.