KenGen commences Phase II drilling of EEP geothermal project in Ethiopia

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The Kenya Electricity Generating company (KenGen) has commenced drilling the first geothermal well for Ethiopia Electric Power (EEP) Company, ushering in the second Phase of the US $70.5m project. KenGen Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano have indicated that the exercise, which begun on 29th May, 2021, has so far been running smoothly and they hope to shorten the usual period of two months despite the current situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

By 2nd June 2021, and in just 8 hours, KenGen had drilled 29 metres out of a feasible limit of 3000 metres. According to Ms Miano, the average time for drilling a single well to completion is usually about two months and KenGen would, in no more than three weeks, mobilize a technical drilling team comprising directional and aerated drillers and specialized engineers to spearhead the project and ensure its success.

“KenGen is keen on offering expert services in electricity generation, geothermal development consulting, power plant operation and maintenance and other related services across Africa,” she said.

This move by KenGen to start the second Phase of the EEP geothermal project comes after the completion of Phase I of the contract by the consortium associates; which saw two rigs being delivered at Aluto site in Ethiopia.

A total of 8 wells are to be drilled in Lot 1 using two rigs each of which is anticipated to drill 4 wells in 1 year. The success of Lot 1 wells will determine whether or not an additional 12 wells will be drilled in Lot 2 totalling the number of wells to 20.

Also Read: Drilling works at Galla Le Koma geothermal field to begin next month

Geothermal revolution in Ethiopia

With KenGen’s entry into Ethiopia, the country is now optimistic that a geothermal revolution will come to pass. This project is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian Government. Besides Ethiopia, KenGen also has a contract to offer commercial drilling services in Djibouti and is eyeing a similar business opportunity in Rwanda. Kenya is the number one geothermal energy producer in Kenya and ranks top 10 in the world.