Canadian company Centric Energy is expressing some optimism for the exploration prospects on its Block 10BA, northwest Kenya following a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) oil-seep study.
As part of its ongoing exploration work in Block 10BA, Centric Energy purchased 16 satellite acquired SAR ‘scenes’ from Fugro NPA to provide a minimum of three SAR scenes from different dates over all areas of Lake Turkana. Fugro experts undertook an interpretation of these data to identify and classify possible surface slicks on Lake Turkana. They categorized the observed slicks as either ‘priority unassigned’ slicks, which is an oil slick with an estimated 20% chance of being related to natural oil seepage, or ‘unassigned’ which is an oil or non-oil slick that has an estimated 10% chance of being related to natural seepage.
The four slicks that were classed as ‘priority unassigned’ appeared only on a single satellite scene, but had characteristics that were more likely to be related to natural seepage. In addition, five of the lower confidence ‘unassigned’ slicks appeared on two or more SAR scenes of different dates. According to Fugro, this repetition over a period of time increases the likelihood of them being related to natural seepage rather than related to another source. This means that there are, in total, nine slicks which have a higher likelihood of being related to natural oil seepage from an underground source while still lacking clear characteristics that can confidently relate these slicks to such seepage. Some of the slicks coincide with geological structures observed on seismic data.
There are complementary data on a natural live oil seep recorded in an onshore seeps database from Fugro Data Solutions as occurring on the northwestern shores of Lake Turkana. This seep is described as ‘oil indications, close to salt and sulphur springs. Oil indication similar to Albert Rift’. No geochemical analysis of this reported oil seep has yet been located by Centric Energy. It is important that the interpreted slicks on the lake and the mapped seep on the shore are validated by sampling in the field and undertaking chemical and geochemical analyses to identify the source of the oil. This work is planned for later in 2010.
Alec Robinson, president and CEO of Centric Energy, said: ‘The results of this oil seep study are encouraging and we are cautiously optimistic. If future work confirms that the oil is due to natural seepage it will greatly improve our risk assessment of the exploration potential of Block 10BA.’
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