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Kenya eyes oil as new president takes office

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 - 01:56

April 9 - As Kenya swears in a new president, Reuters' Hayley Platt looks at one possible new resource the country is hoping to exploit - oil.

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Uhuru Kenyatta is sworn in as Kenya's new leader. He comes to the top job having already served as deputy PM, minister for trade and finance minister. Growth will be a priority. And it could be closer than he thinks. Intensive drilling for oil has already begun in parts of Kenya. Canadian owned Africa Oil and its partners are investing $470 million dollars in at least ten wells this year alone. The company's CEO, Keith Hill says he has high hopes of striking oil. SOUNDBITE: Keith Hill, CEO Africa Oil Corp. saying (English): "We don't always have this type of luck early on. I think that is what has got us encouraged is that , like the North Sea it was the 58th well they drilled before they made their first commercial discovery. We think probably in five to 10 wells we will have a commercial discovery." Small quantities of oil have already been found in Kenya's blocks 10BB and 13T. But they'll need at least 300-million barrels to justify putting in a pipeline. If successful it could attract further explorers to the region and create many much needed jobs for years to come. SOUNDBITE: Keith Hill, CEO Africa Oil Corp. saying (English): "Most people when we discovered oil, thought we would be producing oil in a matter of weeks or months and its going to be a long process, its probably going to be somewhere around five years for the first oil." Once seen as a remote and barren part of Kenya, the north could become the richest region. But any significant oil finds could come at a price. Greed, violence and corruption have been problems in other oil-producing African countries. Locals hope good management in Kenya can ensure local communities benefit not just oil companies and governments.

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Kenya eyes oil as new president takes office

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 - 01:56