Govt backs Recon’s Kavango oil hunt

25 January 2021 | Energy

KENYA KAMBOWE

KAWE

Despite a number of objections against the planned oil and gas exploration at Kawe village in the Kavango East Region, the government has given Recon Energy Namibia its full support to go ahead.

The government promised that Recon Energy Namibia, which is a subsidiary of ReconAfrica, will not be allowed to sidestep local laws protecting the natural environment.

For months, pressure groups and institutions have been objecting to the exploration for oil and gas by Recon Energy Namibia, claiming that the company would conduct hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and possibly contaminate underground water reserves.

However, the government gave Recon Energy Namibia its full backing on Thursday at a ceremony to commission the drilling at Kawe village, citing economic development.

Mines and energy executive director Simeon Negumbo said whoever has questions about the exploration activities to be conducted by Recon Energy Namibia is welcomed to ask the ministry for answers to their questions.

“We, the ministry of mines and energy as a regulator for the energy sector in Namibia, ensure that these activities will take place in strict accordance with the laws and regulations related to energy and environmental protection,” Negumbo said.

“We also pledge our support to Recon Energy Namibia and all stakeholders to ensure that all activities are conducted in a sustainable and most responsible manner.

“We wish to encourage all the interested parties, both locally and internationally, that may need further information and clarity on this activity to kindly contact us as government.”

The event was also attended by Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, who gave Recon Energy his office’s support.

Also expressing support for Recon Energy Namibia was National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) managing director Immanuel Mulunga.

Mulunga lashed out at critics of the project, accusing them of spreading misinformation and propaganda against the exploration project.

“So, there is this business of misinformation of people obviously going such a project and a company like ReconAfrica had other opportunities to go elsewhere in the world but they decided to come to Namibia because they believe but unfortunately there are people saying this company is going to frack and destroy the underground environment or they are drilling in the Okavango Delta which obviously is not true (sic),” Mulunga remarked.

‘We will comply’

Recon Africa spokesperson Claire Preece said as much as they are aiming to find hydrocarbons at the earmarked sites, the company will comply with the laws of the country.

Preece praised the Namibian laws, saying they are very protective of the community.

“In Namibia you have very strong environmental protection laws, you have very strong land laws, your approach to business and the way things are done but on top of that in Canada we have strong laws like that too and we want to work in a way that the laws are followed and we also bring activities of what we have done before and we share them with you so that we can move things forward,” Preece said.

Recon Energy Namibia plans to drill about 3.8 kilometres down in search of oil and gas deposits.

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