Britain’s Tullow Oil may extend its oil exploration activities in Kenya to four additional wells this year, depending on the assessment of results from the initial four wells.

Tullow Oil struck Kenya’s first crude oil in Turkana County’s Lokichar Basin in 2012 and followed it with a string of other finds which have placed the country on the path to becoming an oil producer.

The firm has commenced the four-well exploration and appraisal programme in the South Lokichar Basin in Turkana County. The wells are Ngamia1, Amosing, Erut 1 and Araku.

The company says results from drilling of the Erut-1 well, located in the north of the basin, approximately 11 kilometres north of the Etom field, are set to be released before moving the rig to drill the Amosing-6 well that targets undrilled volumes, before moving to Ngamia-10.

The planned final well in the programme is the Etete prospect, about two km south of the Etom field. The programme, according to Tullow, could be extended by up to four additional wells this year depending on the assessment of the results from the initial four wells.

Already the successful completion of the water injection trials on the Amosing discovery in South Lokichar Basin have shown viability for development planning before moving to Ngamia discovery for more tests.

In a statement, Tullow Oil Chief Executive Aidan Heavey said: 2016 was another tough year for the oil & gas sector and for Tullow. However, the company showed exceptional resilience and strong operational performance to make good progress in exploration and development in East Africa and begin the process of reducing our debt from free cash flow.

The oil reserves in Kenya that are estimated at 750 million barrels are considered commercially viable at prices of approximately 50 dollars per barrel. The company is gearing up to start crude oil production in June this year under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme targeting 2,000 barrels per day.