Namibia kick-starts oil boom with 2022 discoveries
Namibia has emerged as Africa’s energy hub owing to increased activities in oil and gas exploration as the government seeks to leverage its hydrocarbon reserves to address energy poverty whilst boosting the economy
Access Multimedia Content
Namibia’s vast natural resources are estimated at 11 billion barrels of oil and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
Representing one of Africa’s final frontiers for oil and gas exploration, Namibia’s rich offshore basins are spurring the appetite of regional and international oil companies (IOC) alike, leading to a succession of sizeable oil and gas discoveries that will usher in a new era of enhanced exploration and production for the southern African country.
The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) – alongside partners Shell Namibia Upstream B.V. and Qatar Energy – announced the discovery of sizeable quantities of light oil in both primary and secondary targets at the Graff-1 well offshore Namibia late February 2022, ushering in a new era of hydrocarbon exploration and production for the country.
This discovery, coupled with the country’s favorable regulatory environment, is set to create an influx in new investment, while further positioning Namibia as a highly competitive and increasingly lucrative upstream destination.
International oil major TotalEnergies has also been embarking on a series of exploration activities in Namibia.
Only a few weeks after Shell announced its discovery, the French multinational made a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect, which is located in Block 2913B in the Orange Basin offshore southern Namibia.
Both Shell and TotalEnergies’ discoveries have not only demonstrated the significant potential of Namibia’s offshore basins but are expected to spark even more international and regional interest in Namibia’s upstream market while making a strong case for oil and gas exploration in Africa in 2022 and beyond.
Canadian independent exploration company, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica), has entered into an agreement with the National Petroleum Company of Namibia (NAMCOR) to increase its participating interest in the Kavango Basin.
It would enable the company to expand exploration in the high potential market. Having signed a Letter of Intent, whereby ReconAfrica will acquire 5% of NAMCOR’s carried participating interest, the Canadian independent is committed to exploring Namibia’s 6.3-million-acre petroleum exploration license.
In 2021, the company commenced with the drilling of three conventional exploratory stratigraphic wells, announcing preliminary results in April 2021 that revealed the discovery of a working petroleum system in the Kavango Basin.
Similarly, in June 2021, ReconAfrica drilled the second well, which showed similar characteristics to that of the first.
Thereafter, the company has progressed with the drilling of wells three and four as well as 2D seismic surveying, as it hopes to discover significant resources in the high opportune basin.
So what will these discoveries mean for Namibia and its people? Firstly, regarding the country’s energy future, the discovery is set to usher in a wave of new investment across the entire energy value chain.
With the country’s energy sector considerably undeveloped, capital injections in key industries such as infrastructure, power generation and distribution and production will soon follow as investors turn an eye to this high potential market.
Secondly, once developed, discoveries will significantly improve energy security in a nation that relies heavily on petroleum imports and intermittent hydropower.