France's Total, Europe's third-largest oil company, said its Total Kenya business is looking to increase exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the African country, according to a Kenyan official. The East African nation has increasingly become a target destination for global oil and gas producers.
Total (TOT) approached the Kenyan government in May about a specific block, and Total is waiting for the government to survey the block and negotiate, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kenya shares a border with South Sudan and Uganda, two African nations that are believed to be home to rich petroleum resources.
Total is not the only Western oil major to turn an eye to Kenya. BP (BP), Europe's second-largest oil company, and Anadarko Petroleum (APC), the second-largest U.S. independent oil and gas producer, both maintain footprints in Kenya.
The move to Kenya is interesting considering the country currently produces no oil and it is a risky one for Western oil producers given the operational hazards present in Africa and due to the fact there are currently no reliable estimates regarding how much oil Kenya actually holds.