Apache Kenya has secured the use of deepwater drilling ship Deepsea Metro 1 from Odfjell Drilling to drill the Mbawa Prospect, offshore Kenya.

The prospect, located in Kenya block L8 in the Lamu Basin, is estimated to have a maximum potential of 4.9 billion barrels of oil in place at the main Tertiary/Cretaceous level.

Additional potential is also to be tested at the deeper Upper Jurassic level and shallower Tertiary levels.

Apache is planning to spud the well during the third quarter of 2012, with the actual date depending on when the drilling rig is finished with its current operations.

The well is expected to take about 45 to 60 days to complete to a planned total depth of 3,250m subsea in water depth of 860m.

Apache Kenya is the operator of Kenya block L8, in which it holds a 50% interest. Origin retains a 20% stake in the block and both Pancontinental Oil & Gas and Tullow Kenya hold 15% interest.