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Namibia gears up for first oil production

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Namibia gears up for first oil production

According to an official statement released in Johannesburg on February 16, 2024, Namibia is targeting oil production by 2030. The country plans to leverage recent discoveries in the Orange Basin to realize this goal. This endeavor is anticipated to bolster the local economy and showcase the substantial offshore oil reserves in Southern Africa.

Multiple discoveries in the Orange Basin

Namibia possesses substantial oil reserves that have the potential to rival those of major players like Saudi Arabia and Russia in the global market. The Orange Basin, in particular, hosts a significant deposit estimated at 11 billion barrels. In addition to ongoing developments, the country has recently made noteworthy discoveries in this area in early 2024, with several explorations still underway. Major companies such as TotalEnergies have already initiated investments in alignment with these promising prospects.

Two discoveries by Galp Energia

In 2024, multinational company Galp Energia achieved two significant discoveries in PEL 83. In January, the Portuguese company confirmed a light oil reserve in high-quality sands, with confirmed reservoirs at the Mopane-1X well. Subsequently, the site underwent a drill stem test. The second discovery occurred during the process of drilling, coring, and logging a target at depth in the same well. Galp’s contract drilling rig then initiated the same process for the Mopane-2X well.

TotalEnergies : Exploration on Block 2913 B

TotalEnergies has recently uncovered hydrocarbon-bearing zones in the Mangetti-1X well, situated in Block 2913 B. Currently, a probe is being drilled to evaluate their commercial potential. This discovery comes on the heels of a previous significant find in 2022—the Venus-1 well in PEL 56—which catalyzed exploration in the Orange Basin. Venus-1 stands as one of the most remarkable discoveries of the century, boasting an estimated recoverable reserve capacity of up to 2 billion barrels.

Chevron drilling project

In November 2023, Chevron submitted an application for an environmental certificate of authorization to undertake oil and gas exploration endeavors in PEL 90. The energy company intends to drill five exploration wells and five appraisal wells as part of their plan. The initiation of the first drilling operations for these wells is slated for the fourth quarter of 2024.

Four developments operated by Shell

Namibia’s push to establish itself as an oil producer is bolstered by the development of four recent wells in the Orange Basin, overseen by Shell. The exploration efforts in offshore block PEL 39 resulted in the discovery of the Lesedi-1X well. This initiative specifically unveiled the Jonker-1, La Rona, and Graff-1 wells, estimated to hold reserves of up to 1.7 billion barrels. Notably, the Jonker-1 oilfield alone may contain reserves of up to 300 million barrels.

6ᵗʰ edition of NIEC : Presentation of the first oil project

With a view to promoting this booming sector, the government plans to present this oil production project during the International Namibia Energy Conference (NIEC). This major event will be held from April 23 to 25, 2024 in Windhoek, under the theme « Re-imagining Resource-rich Namibia : Turning Opportunity into Prosperity ».

Organized in collaboration with the African Energy Chamber and RichAfrica Consultancy, the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) seeks to showcase the lucrative potential of offshore oil in Southern Africa and Namibia. The conference serves as a platform for stakeholders in the energy sector to convene, fostering opportunities for dialogue and multilateral cooperation. It presents a timely opportunity to explore avenues for maximizing the potential of the Orange Basin while shedding light on emerging prospects in neighboring regions.

CEO and founder of RichAfrica Consultancy Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni underlines the immense potential of Namibia’s new energy resources. Strategically, the country must prepare to exploit the entire value chain of these resources. « Our theme encapsulates our vision of creating a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for all Namibians, while positioning the country as a leading energy hub », Shimutwikeni adds.

Namibia’s oil production outlook

The eight discoveries currently under development underscore Namibia’s potential as one of the world’s most promising oil regions, akin to Nigeria’s oil and gas resources. Namibia’s petroleum landscape features a multitude of projects in various stages of development, attracting numerous energy exploration and production (E&P) companies to the region.

In April 2023, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources granted exploitation rights for Block 5/6/7 to TotalEnergies, in collaboration with Shell and Petro SA. However, Petro SA relinquished half of its share to China National Offshore Oil Corp (Cnooc). The French multinational, TotalEnergies, earmarks 30 % of its exploration and resource evaluation budget for Namibia. Moreover, it increases its stake in Block 2913 by 10.5 % and in Block 2912 by 9.39 %.

Simultaneously, Rhino Resources Namibia outlines plans to drill up to ten holes on Block 2914. Woodside Energy secures a 56 % interest in PEL 87. Meanwhile, private exploration firm Impact Oil & Gas commits to funding further exploration in Block 2912, with an open offer of 95 million USD. Additionally, in July 2023, oil and gas exploration company Africa Oil acquires an additional 6.25 % interest in Block 3B/4B of the Orange Basin.

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