Kenya’s GDC to start drilling at Menengai, Nakuru project

Alexander Richter 13 Feb 2010

Kenya's Geothermal Development Company says will begin drilling steam wells for power generation in Menengai, Nakuru in October with two rigs which were acquired from China.

Released in the news in Kenya, Geothermal Development Company says will begin drilling steam wells for power generation in Menengai, Nakuru in October.

The state company has acquired the two rigs to be used in the project from China.

The GDC managing director, Silas Simiyu, said the cost of sinking a well would reduce by 46 percent from $6.5 million to $3.5 million as the company would use its own rigs instead of hiring a contractor.

“GDC will develop Menengai and offer steam as a Kenyan resource for power generation to attract a wider participation and eventually lower electricity costs,” he said.

Various investors, including Kenya Electricity Generating Company, will be invited to take part in the venture by procuring well heads.

However, the company will rely on the government for its Sh10 billion (US$124 million) annual budget. It will also have to raise another Sh10 billion annually from other sources.

The company aims to exploit geothermal resources in the country, which will lead to a reduced dependence on imported fuel for generation.

The country mainly depends on hydro electricity from the Seven Forks power stations, which are prone to fluctuations in weather patterns, together with independent power producers who rely on expensive imported fossil fuels.

Kenya’s current peak power demand stands at 1,070 megawatts against an installed capacity of 1,160 megawatts.

The demand is projected to rise by 10 percent per year in the next 20 years, to over 8,000 megawatts.

Menengai has the potential to generate 800 megawatts of power. Detailed exploration work was done in 2004 and five drilling pads, each with a capacity of five to eight steam wells prepared.

The five pads pads, costing a total of Sh120 million (US$1.5 million), were prepared by the government prior to the formation of the GDC.

The company has already commissioned a consultant to undertake Menegai’s environment impact assessment to be submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

“Environmental approval process by NEMA takes up to 90 days, which has been factored in planning with drilling to begin in October this year. By then GDC will have acquired the EAI licence,” said Simiyu.”

Source: Saturday Nation Kenya