Dozens of energy industry executives have been gathering in Kenya's capital this week, a location that would have been unlikely to attract big oil only a decade ago.

But today, as one executive put it, East Africa is in the middle of an incredible energy boom, activity that is likely to last decades.

The last couple of years have seen significant oil and gas discoveries across East Africa — in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. Even Somalia hopes to get into energy exploration, though the likelihood of that is still years off.

Martin Trachsel, the chief executive of South Atlantic Petroleum Limited, said East Africa was underexplored in the last decade. But a string of new discoveries in the east has changed that.