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Drilling is about to start at GDC project at Menengai, Kenya

Drilling is about to start at GDC project at Menengai, Kenya Menengai Crater, Kenya (source: flickr/ meaduva, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 26 Oct 2010

Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is just about to start drilling for the US$716m geothermal project at the Menengai Crater in Nakuru, Kenya.

Reported from Kenya, “Geothermal Development Company starts the multi-billion-shilling geothermal steam power generation project on the Menengai Crater in Nakuru.

Drilling of the Sh60 billion (US$716m) project, which is fully financed by the Kenyan Government, will be in two phases and starts in January 2011.

The GDC has procured two rigs for drilling wells at Sh5.8 billion (US$69m) and is also financing drilling of three exploration wells.

The rigs and accessories were purchased from China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation (CPDTC) through competitive bidding.

According to the company’s Central Rift Valley manager, Mr Benjamin Kubo, five Chinese expatriates are expected in the country before the end of the year to help implement the project.

Mr Kubo says the experts will train 120 GDC staff for six months, before leaving locals to manage the project.

The first phase of the project will have a capacity of 400MW by 2014 and by 2016 when it should be fully completed, it will have a capacity of 800MW.

Exploration work was initiated in 2004 by KenGen and steam from successful drilling will first be offered for sale to the firm.

If by chance it declines to buy, the steam will be offered to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and if not, GDC will construct power plants and generate electricity.

This process, according to Mr Kubo, is designed to meet the growing national needs for electricity in the country, which are projected at more than seven per cent annually.

“This arrangement is also meant to ensure that private investors in KenGen are shielded against the high risk of exploratory drilling in new fields,” he adds.

It is estimated that Kenya has a potential of 10,000MW of geothermal steam but has since 1957 only exploited 200MW.

“Kenya should not suffer a single blackout when we have such an enormous renewable resource, which is why GDC wants to tap at least 5,000MW of this energy and transform the country into a modern industrial hub by 2030,” the company’s public relations and communication manager, Ms Ruth Musembi, told local papers.”

Source: Daily Nation