Source: Energy Capital & Power

Beyond the major oil and gas discoveries made in Namibia between 2022 and 2024, leading IOCs continue to position the country as one of the most sought-after exploration hotspots. According to Namibian national oil company NAMCOR, the country holds over 11 billion barrels of oil and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, which has attracted the interest of oil and gas supermajors TotalEnergies, Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil, along with multinational energy corporations such as Galp and QatarEnergy and independents including Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas, ReconAfrica, Tower Resources  Sintana Energy, Global Petroleum and 88 Energy.

Last July, Shell verified the presence of hydrocarbons at its fourth exploratory well – Lesedi-1X – following the company’s previous Graff-1X, Jonker-1X and La Rona-1X discoveries in Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 39 between 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, TotalEnergies is currently engaged in a multi-well appraisal and exploration drilling program in Block 2913B, situated in PEL 56 in the Orange Basin, following the discovery of light oil in the ultra-deepwater Venus-1X exploration well in March 2023.

In addition to the prolific Orange Basin, this exploration blitz is opening up exploration in the country’s frontier and underexplored acreage, including the Walvis, Kunene, Kavango and Namibe Basins. With first oil from offshore finds expected by 2029, Namibia is poised to become a major oil and gas hub in sub-Saharan Africa. Oil and gas exploration – and broader prospectivity beyond the Orange Basin – will serve as a major talking point during the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2024, which takes place in Windhoek on April 23-25 and unites Namibian stakeholders with international investors and operators.

Driving Exploration in Frontier Prospects

Namibia’s Walvis Basin – also known as the northwest Shelf – covers an area of 17,295 km2 and serves as one of the most prolific gas provinces in the world. Holding operatorship and an 85% working interest in PELs 97, 98, 99 and 100, Eco Atlantic is currently assessing opportunities for development in the underexplored basin. In PEL 96, Tower Resources is conducting an oil seep analysis and review of existing volumetric data on existing prospects and leads, where it has identified the presence of multi-billion-barrels-of-oil structures. The concession encompasses Blocks 1910A, 1911 and 1912B.

Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy issued an approval for Global Petroleum to proceed with the first renewal period of its activities in the basin’s offshore PEL 94. The work period will run from September 2023 to September 2025 and will include the acquisition, processing and interpretation of 2,000 km of 3D seismic data and the drilling of one well on the license.

Furthering the country’s exploration efforts, Galp inked a contract for a semi-submersible rig to be used for an initial exploration drilling campaign close to Shell’s Graff-1X and TotalEnergies’ Venus-1X discoveries. The campaign has resulted in two successive light oil discoveries on PEL 83 since the start of this year – Mopane-1X and Mopane-2X – confirming the presence of hydrocarbons in a deeper target.

Meanwhile, ReconAfrica is leading exploration of the Kavango Basin, where the presence of an active petroleum system was confirmed last November. With a 90% interest in PEL 73, ReconAfrica is poised to obtain a 25-year production license if it makes a discovery in the basin, which could hold up to 30 billion barrels of oil.

The country’s nascent oil and gas sector will require further development, thereby creating opportunities for local and international service providers to support and advance exploration and appraisal activities. With Namibia’s latest hydrocarbon discoveries suggesting significant untapped potential, the country is entering a new era of exploration and is set to showcase its frontier oil and gas prospects at NIEC 2024.

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