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Kenya strikes oil in remote northern region

By AFP

NAIROBI (AFP) - Kenya struck oil in its remote northwestern Turkana region after exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil, but has yet to establish commercial viability, President Mwai Kibaki said Monday.

"Our country has made a major breakthrough in oil exploration," Kibaki said, speaking at a conference in Nairobi.

"This is the first time Kenya has made such a discovery and it's a very good news for our country."

Wells drilled by Tullow Oil had found oil, Kibaki said, but there were no details of the potential scale of the find.

"To establish commercial viability they have to drill multiple wells," Kibaki said.

"It is... the beginning of a long journey to make our country an oil producer, which typically takes in excess of three years. We shall be giving the nation more information as the oil exploration process continues," he added.

Tullow Oil, which also struck oil in neighbouring Uganda, said the find had exceeded their expectations.

"This is an excellent start to our major exploration campaign in the East African rift basins of Kenya and Ethiopia," said Tullow's exploration director Angus McCoss.

"To make a good oil discovery in our first well is beyond our expectations and bodes well for the material programme ahead of us," he added.

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