Kenya picks Britain's Wood Group for oil pipeline design

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has picked Wood Group Plc WG.L to design an estimated $2 billion (1.43 billion pounds) oil pipeline to pump crude from fields in the north of the East African nation to an Indian Ocean port, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Kenya discovered commercial oil reserves in its Lokichar basin in 2012 and the 800-km (500-mile) pipeline is expected to be built before production is due to start in 2021/22.

Andrew Kamau, the principal secretary at the Petroleum and Mining Ministry, said the design work would take eight months.

The government had invited engineering design bids in January for the pipeline, which is expected to cost $2 billion.

Britain's Tullow Oil TLW.L operates the Kenyan fields, while the other investors are Canada's Africa Oil AOI.TO and France's Total TOTF.PA. Kenyan is expected to take a stake through state-owned National Oil.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing George Obulutsa