KenGen, Chinese firm secure contract to drill for geothermal energy in Ethiopia

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Kenya’s state-owned power producer and a Chinese firm have secured a contract to supply geothermal drilling services to Ethiopia’s state-run power producer Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP).

Courtesy: Capital FM
The signing ceremony of the agreement was attended by KenGen’s Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano and Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) CEO Dr. Abraham Belay

According to a statement released by KenGen, the contract, which is for the implementation of drilling rigs and rig operation and maintenance for drilling geothermal wells at Aluto, is financed by the World Bank through a loan to the Ethiopian government for 7.6 billion Kenyan shillings (about 76.8 million U.S. dollars).

“The project will be implemented in two phases, phase I which is the purchase of drilling rigs, and phase II which entails provision of drilling,” Rebecca Miano, CEO of KenGen, said in the statement.

Miano revealed that Kenya is Africa’s number one geothermal energy producer and among the top ten in the world.

“The country has a geothermal installed capacity of 685MW with an estimated potential of 10,000 MW along the Rift Valley. Currently, this potential is being harnessed in Olkaria, Menegai and Eburru fields,” she added.

Abraham Belay, CEO of EEP, said that Ethiopia tried to venture into geothermal development in efforts dating as far back as 1981 but failed to have any success.

“Currently we have some geothermal drilling rigs that are idle and now broken down and therefore the need to purchase new ones,” said Belay.

Belay added that “we will be delighted to receive help to build the capacity of our people to be able to manage the equipment and run the power plants even after KenGen exit the sites.”