KENGEN DIVERSIFICATION; DRILLING WORKS FOR ETHIOPIA GEOTHERMAL WELL COMMENCES
Setting in motion Phase II of Sh7.6 billion contract, the Kenya Electricity Generating company has started drilling the first geothermal well for Ethiopia Electric Power (EEP) company.
Against a possible maximum of 3,000metres, the company has so far drilled 29 metres. This further entrenches KenGen’s foothold in the Horn of Africa as a leader in geothermal energy production.
KenGen Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano said the exercise started on May 29, 2021, whereby the first hole section was drilled to 29 meters within eight hours. This was indicated in a statement released on Wednesday.
She added that drilling a single well takes about two months to complete.
"So far, drilling operations are running smoothly as the team moves to the next hole section. Drilling a single well takes about two months to complete. We however hope to shorten this period despite the prevailing circumstances brought about by Covid-19," Miano said.
To ensure the project was a success, Miano stated that KenGen would within the next three weeks mobilize specialized drilling services crew including aerated drillers, directional drillers, and reservoir engineers.
"KenGen is keen on offering expert services in electricity generation, geothermal development consulting, power plant operation and maintenance and other related services across Africa," she said.
Former EEP CEO Abraham Belay who spoke during the official signing ceremony, said they were optimistic KenGen would be able to drill the projected number of wells.
“What is more exciting is the fact that KenGen is also building the capacity of our people and eventually, we will also be able to manage geothermal equipment and run the power plants after the company exits the sites,” Belay added.
As the country had tried to venture into geothermal development as far back as 1981, he revealed that Ethiopia’s quest for geothermal energy spans over four decades
Ethiopia is now staring at a geothermal generation breakthrough, with KenGen’s entry into the country.
This move by KenGen to commence Phase II of the project follows the completion of Phase I of the contract by the consortium partners under which two rigs were delivered at Aluto site in Ethiopia.The First Phase entailed the purchase of drilling rigs while Phase II entails the provision of drilling services.
Translating to about Sh620 million (about $6.2 million), KenGen is supplying about 30 per cent of the component of Phase II which
A total of eight wells will be drilled in Lot 1 using two rigs with expected revenue of Sh620 million ($6.2 million), under this project, which is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian Government. Each rig is expected to drill four (4) wells within a period of one (1) year. Depending on the outcome of Lot 1 wells, an additional 12 wells may be drilled under Lot2 bringing the total to 20 wells.
In February 2019, KenGen won a joint contract with Shandong Kerui Petroleum Equipment Company and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group to supply geothermal drilling services. The project is being managed between the three consortium members.
At the same time, also in the Horn of Africa, KenGen has completed drilling the first two wells for Tulu Moye Geothermal Operations PLC (TMGO) in Ethiopia and is currently preparing to drill the third well.
KenGen signed a contract with Tulu Moye to drill 12geothermal wells and also supply, install, operationalise, and maintain the water supply system for the project back in October 2019.
In what has led to the organization’s expansion in the horn of Africa, these two projects are hinged on the company’s diversification strategy.
KenGen has also secured a Sh709 million contract to offer commercial drilling services in Djibouti besides Ethiopia.
The company signed the contract with Office Djiboutien De Development De lenergie Geothermique (Djiboutian Office of Geothermal Energy Development) (ODDEG), in February this year.
KenGen is also prospecting for a similar business in Rwanda. Among the top 10 in the world,Kenya is Africa’s number one geothermal energy producer.
The country has an estimated potential of 10,000MW along the Rift Valley. Currently, this potential is being harnessed in Olkaria, Menegai and Eburru fields.