Nock buys exploration kits with eye on luring partner

Crude Oil Tanker 'Nan Lin Wan' discharges petroleum products at the KOT 2 in Mombasa

Crude Oil Tanker 'Nan Lin Wan' discharges petroleum products at the KOT 2 in Mombasa on May 11, 2023. Nock has bought new oil exploration equipment valued at Sh410.4 million

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) has bought new oil exploration equipment valued at Sh410.4 million ($3.8 million) as its plan to gather crucial field data to woo strategic partners gathers steam.

Nock said the last set of kits for its state-of-the-art laboratory for oil and gas was delivered on Wednesday.

Globe Corporation BV, a Dutch firm, was awarded the contract for supply of the equipment in November 2020.

The modern upstream geochemical and petro-physical laboratory is based at Kawi House in South C, Nairobi, and is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, said the company.

“With this equipment setup at Nock, Kenya will no longer depend on international oil companies and external commercial laboratories to determine the qualities and characteristics of locally discovered crude oil,” said Nock chief executive Leparan Morintat on Wednesday.

The oil dealer now intends to commercialise the laboratory within the country and the rest of Africa to boost its revenue streams.

The lab will also be adopted to research green energy, according to experts at the firm.

Nock has been relying on global entities to carry out studies and tests on hydrocarbon materials found locally, which is expensive.

According to Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, Nock had spent a total of Sh2.42 billion on exploration activities in Block 14T which it owns, underlining the huge expenditure required to fund those activities.

Nock said the lab will provide geochemical, petrophysical, and research services for exploration, development, and production of fuel energy resources in the country and regionally.

It added that the facility will deploy a wide range of new technologies, including geochemical ‘fingerprinting’, which is key in addressing some of the industry’s major challenges in the East Africa and beyond.

This comes even as the company has revived the search for a strategic partner to fund its oil and gas exploration activities in its Block 14T located in the Lake Magadi Basin.

Mr Morintat said that the country stands “an excellent chance of negotiating with international oil companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production”.

It comes as a major facelift to the company, which is in the final phase of onboarding a non-strategic partner.

The firm is also setting up subsidiaries for its downstream, upstream, and trading operations to make it more agile.

The Cabinet in August approved the split of the company into three entities to support its revival.