Private Olsuswa geothermal project in Kenya to start early exploration work

Lake Turkana, Kenya (source: flickr/ Wayne Feiden, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 12 Apr 2017

The private developer of the Olsuswa geothermal project near Lake Turkana in Kenya is now planning to start early exploration work on the project site in the Barrier geothermal field.

The Olsuswa geothermal project in Kenya is one of only a handful private geothermal developments in the country. The developer, Olsuswa Energy Limited is a Kenyan based company focused on renewable energy projects across Africa. The company has been granted a geothermal resource license (No.1/2016) as per the Geothermal Act (1982) for the northern most-known geothermal prospect- Barrier Volcanic Complex in Turkana County, Kenya.

As a local company, Olsuswa Energy looks to provide local solutions in the Kenyan energy sector for the benefit of all consumers by reducing energy costs through the national grid and hence providing clean, green and affordable electricity in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030. The BVC prospect covers an area of 136 square km.

The Barrier volcanic complex geothermal field is one of the geothermal prospects within the Kenyan Rift Valley, and is situated south of the iconic Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, popularly known as the Jade Sea.

The Barrier Volcanic Complex separates Lake Turkana from the spectacular Suguta Valley. This volcanic complex forms a whale back ridge that is 20km long and 15 km wide, and consists of 4 distinct shield volcanoes; Kang’oleyang, Kakorinya, Likaiu East and Likaiu West.

Reconnaissance surveys by the British Geological Survey (BGS) team indicated an occurrence of strong surface manifestations, signifying a hydrothermal system. Further surface studies conducted in 2011 revealed a high-temperature resource area covering 60km2 with subsurface temperatures of around 2810 Celsius and an estimated potential of 750MWe. The figure below shows the location of the barrier.

With the help of our permanent consultants – Icelandic GeoSurvey (ISOR), we plan to tap into this geothermal resource for the production of clean, affordable electricity that will be fed to the national grid via the 400kV Loyangalani-Suswa transmission line which is currently under construction by KETRACO and is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

Upcoming surface studies

The upcoming geo-scientific studies are geological, geochemical, geophysical, structural analysis, and micro-seismics. Each discipline will be required to produce a conceptual model.  The approach of each of these disciplines will consist of numerous tests, producing scientific data that will be integrated to characterize the geothermal resource at the BVC.
The integration of the data and the results of each study will be thoroughly reviewed through a technical review meeting resulting in an integrated conceptual model. The resulting integrated conceptual model will then shape and direct the identifying of first three exploration well sites and all further decisions regarding the study and development of the BVC prospect.

Exploration drilling project

From the detailed surface geo-scientific studies, three drilling targets will be identified. Olsuswa Energy Limited is prepared to implement the subsequent drilling plans it has already developed. We will also rely upon and leverage the expertise of its key personnel who have experience with the exploratory and reservoir confirmation drilling associated with Kenyan geothermal projects (Lars Jensen, Kim Gredsted and Sam Abraham).

Plans for subsequent drilling include accessing additional financial support, continuing community engagement, a work plan for exploratory drilling, further project development activities and ultimately power plant commissioning.

The article was shared by Sam Abraham of Olsuswa Energy.