Kenya is set to auction oil and gas exploration blocks in the Lamu Basin in the Indian Ocean, Petroleum and Mining Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau has announced.
Currently, US-based ION Geophysical Corp is collecting seismic data after which the oil fields will be auctioned.
“We expect to go into a bidding round after we have the data after a year. They (ION) will recoup their costs after the bidding,” said Mr Kamau.
At least 13 offshore exploration wells have been drilled so far, but no commercial discovery has been done even as ION looks at an area of 14,000 square kilometres.
This comes at a time Kenya is engaged in a tussle with Somalia over the territorial ownership of over 100,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean said to contain hydrocarbon reserves.
Kenya seeks to redraw the maritime boundary from the current eastwards flow from the land border south of Kiunga, to a diagonal flow.
However, Kenya has maintained that the marine boundary is determined by a parallel line of latitude to the east, as per the standards set by the colonial powers, which were adopted in the marine borders between Kenya and Tanzania, Tanzania and Mozambique and Mozambique and South Africa.
Already, Somalia has filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in which Kenya was not represented during the hearing.