Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) PLC has commenced drilling of the first of three geothermal wells in Djibouti setting in motion a Ksh0.7 billion contract signed in February 2021.
The drilling of the first well is expected to take about two months to complete as KenGen seeks to export the expertise and experience earned in Olkaria, Naivasha where the company has successfully drilled about 320 geothermal wells.
“This is a historic moment for us and we are confident that our team on site will deliver the project within the contracted time and on budget despite the prevailing circumstances brought about by COVID-19 and security situation in neighboring Ethiopia,” KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano.
The CEO said KenGen had assigned a highly specialised multiskilled team to the project in the Horn of Africa country comprised of mechanical engineers, drilling engineers, project managers, drillers, cementing technicians and specialized welders among other key professionals in the geothermal development value chain.
With the drilling rig set up, KenGen is set to commence drilling of three geothermal wells for Djibouti Office of Geothermal Energy Development (ODDEG) over the next few months.
ODDEG Project Manager, Abdirasak Omar Moumin exuded confidence that KenGen would deliver the project as planned, adding that the Djiboutian team was looking forward to acquiring new knowledge from the Kenyan NSE-listed firm.
“We are happy with KenGen and learning a lot from the team on the ground. They have a long history and expertise in geothermal which makes them the best partners in implementing our geothermal dream,” said Mr Moumin.
The Djiboutian venture is part of KenGen’s ambitious diversification strategy, in which the company is seeking to acquire new revenue streams by offering commercial drilling services, geothermal consulting and other related services across Africa.
This is the third mega geothermal drilling contract that KenGen is implementing in Africa. In October 2019, the company secured a Ksh5.8 billion contract to drill 12 geothermal wells in Ethiopia. The contract with Ethiopia’s independent power producer Tulu Moye Geothermal Operations (TMGO) PLC includes installing a water supply system and equipment.
In February 2019, KenGen won a contract to drill geothermal wells for the Ethiopian Electric Company (EEP) in Aluto-Langano, Ethiopia. The contract is for the implementation of drilling rigs and accessories as well as rig operation and maintenance for drilling geothermal wells. It is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian Government.
Last week, KenGen announced that it had completed drilling the deepest geothermal well in the Aluto-Langano project reaching a depth of 3,000 meters, surpassing a target of 2,750 meters.
“We are happy to see our teams deliver the same level of success in the Horn of Africa as we do back home in Olkaria where we have also drilled several geothermal wells to depths of 3,000 meters,” said KenGen Ag. Geothermal Development Director, Peketsa Mangi.
Kenya is Africa’s number one geothermal energy producer and among top 10 in the world with an installed capacity of 863MW with KenGen contributing about 713MW. The country has an estimated potential of 10,000MW along the Rift Valley.