UPDATE 1-Africa Oil plans up to 8 east Africa wells
* Plans up to five wells in Kenya, two in Somalia's Puntland
* Sees closure on acquisition of Lion Energy soon
* Vanoil also to drill one well in 2012
(Adds Vanoil in para 5)
By George Obulutsa
NAIROBI, May 17 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas explorer Africa Oil Corp AOI.V plans to drill up to eight exploratory wells in blocks it holds interests in across east Africa, a senior company executive said on Tuesday.
Africa Oil and its partners hold exploration licences in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.
"We'll start a drilling programme beginning in September 2011. Tullow as an operator will drill four to five wells in Kenya and Africa Oil Corp and PLP (its Puntland Partner) will drill two wells in Puntland and one well in Ethiopia," James Phillips, Africa Oil Corp's chief operating officer, told a regional oil and gas meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Continued...