Kenya has created an extra 17 new oil exploration blocks, bringing its total to 63, and aims to auction them in a licensing round in 2017, Kenyan newspapers quoted Ministry of Energy and Petroleum saying, Reuters reported.

The country recoverable reserves are an estimated 750m barrels of crude, and it was in 2012 when British explorer Tullow Oil with its partner Africa Oil first struck oil in Lokichar in northwest Kenya.

Africa Oil has since then sold a 25% stake in those blocks to A.P. Moller-Maersk. As Standard Media wrote, both partners aim to announce a final investment decision for production in early 2017.

In addition, it was reported before that Kenya started a search for companies to design a crude oil export pipeline costing some $2.1b and which it expects to be should be completed by 2021.