Nairobi — Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has started drilling the first geothermal well for Ethiopia Electric Power (EEP) company, setting in motion Phase II of the Sh7.6 billion contract.
KenGen Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano through a statement said the works began over the weekend where the company drilled 29 meters.
"The exercise started on Saturday, May 29, 2021, whereby the first hole section was drilled to 29 meters within eight hours. So far, drilling operations are running smoothly as the team moves to the next hole section. Drilling a single well takes about two months to complete. We however hope to shorten this period despite the prevailing circumstances brought about by Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)."
According to Miano, the company would within the next three weeks mobilize specialized drilling services crew including aerated drillers, directional drillers, and reservoir engineers to ensure the project was a success.
She further added that KenGen was keen on offering expert services in electricity generation, geothermal development consulting, power plant operation and maintenance, and other related services across Africa.
Former EEP Chief Executive Officer Abraham Belay said they were optimistic KenGen would be able to drill the projected number of wells.
"What is more exciting is the fact that KenGen is also building the capacity of our people and eventually, we will also be able to manage geothermal equipment and run the power plants after the company exits the sites," said Belay.
He revealed that Ethiopia's quest for geothermal energy spans over four decades as the country had tried to venture into geothermal development as far back as 1981. With KenGen's entry into the country, Ethiopia is now staring at a geothermal generation breakthrough.
The move by KenGen to commence Phase II of the project follows the completion of Phase I of the contract by the consortium partners under which two rigs were delivered at Aluto site in Ethiopia.
The First Phase entailed the purchase of drilling rigs while Phase II entails the provision of drilling services. KenGen is supplying about 30 percent of the component of Phase II which translates to about USD 6.2 million (about Sh620 million).
Under this project, which is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian Government, a total of eight (8) wells will be drilled in Lot 1 using two rigs with expected revenue of Sh620 million (USD 6.2 million).
Each rig is expected to drill four (4) wells within a period of one (1) year.
Depending on the outcome of Lot 1 wells, an additional 12 wells may be drilled under Lot 2 bringing the total to 20 wells.