Apache Corp. says quits Kenyan offshore oil block

NAIROBI Wed Oct 9, 2013 1:11pm IST

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NAIROBI Oct 9 (Reuters) - American explorer Apache Corp. has abandoned its hunt for hydrocarbons in Kenya, a hotspot in the race for new oil and gas deposits, after finding only non-commercial quantities of gas in its sole Kenyan interest.

Bob Dye, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Apache, said the company was relinquishing its 50 percent stake in Kenya's offshore L8 Block where it partnered with Britain's Tullow Oil and Australia's Pancontinental.

"We determined that other areas in our worldwide portfolio provided better opportunities for future capital investments," Dye told Reuters in an email late on Tuesday.

Dye said Apache had informed the Kenyan government of the move on Sept. 27. The decision, he said, was not influenced by a militant attack on a Nairobi shopping mall a week earlier which killed at least 67 people.

The attack, the worst on Kenyan soil since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing carried out by al Qaeda, has raised questions over the security of oil and gas exploration facilities.

Commercially viable oil discoveries in Kenya, along with oil struck in Uganda and gas finds offshore Tanzania and Mozambique, underlines east Africa's potential to become a major oil and gas producing region in the next five years.

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