Before the 1980s, the tertiary rift was considered inferior exploration-wise with little activity. Shell drilled Eliye Springs-1 (dry) in 1992 and Loperot-1 (oil shows) in 1993 within the Lokichar sub-basin.  This was followed by a period of exploration hiatus that lasted to 2006 when oil was discovered in the Albertine graben in Uganda. Tullow Oil Plc and Africa Oil acquired additional 2D seismic in the region and in 2012 drilled Ngamia-1 well, the first oil discovery in the basin encountering over 100m net oil pay zones. A series of 2D and 3D seismic acquisition programs have been carried out to date with over 40 exploration and appraisal wells drilled opening up the Lokichar sub-basin. Currently, joint field development studies between Tullow Oil, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining (Petroleum Directorate) and National Oil Corporation of Kenya are ongoing to give Kenya its best development options. 

National Oil operates its own exploration acreage in Block 14T which is located within the southern Tertiary Rift Basin where gravity (FTG), magnetotellurics (MT), aeromagnetic and seismic data have been acquired. Additional acquisition of 2D seismic was carried out in 2017 with two stratigraphic wells drilled by the early 2018.

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