Kenya’s government is on tenterhooks awaiting the results of a challenging ultra-deepwater wildcat that Italian major Eni has been drilling for close to 80 days, but informed sources claimed the well has been a failure.

Eni had not responded to questions at press time, but two exploration sources familiar with the drilling operation at Mlima-1 in the Lamu basin told Upstream the well is “dry”, meaning no hydrocarbons have been discovered.

A third source with deep geological knowledge about East Africa, was not surprised that the well has failed because it is located “just a bit too far out” from what he reckoned would be a likely Jurassic oil source rock.