'Premature' to discuss fracking

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says oil and gas exploration in the Kavango does not mean that production will go ahead, or that fracking would be permitted.

08 March 2021 | Environment



Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says it is “premature and confusing” at this stage to discuss the risks of fracking in the Kavango regions, when ReconAfrica has not even applied to use the method yet.

Shifeta said the oil and gas exploration area is more than 260 km from the Okavango Delta in Botswana and is not taking place in any conservancies.

Shifeta was responding to questions posed in Parliament regarding fracking and Reconnaissance Energy Africa’s (ReconAfrica’s) oil and gas exploration project.

Shifeta said ReconAfrica’s exploration is based on the subsurface petroleum exploration rights granted to it by the mines ministry under a Petroleum Explorations Licence (PEL).

“It is not a production licence and the licence issued to ReconAfrica does not allow it to carry out any production operation at its sites.”

The environment ministry, through the office of the environmental commissioner, approved the drilling of two exploration wells on 26 August 2019, said Shifeta.

He said that did not give the company permission to go ahead with fracking.


Shifeta said the exploration activities would be limited to an area situated about 80 km south of the Okavango River, 40 km from the boundary of the Khaudum National Park, and more than 260 km from the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

“The approved two stratigraphic wells are furthermore not located in any conservancy or environmentally sensitive area. The potential footprint for this activity will only occur on the area that is not bigger than 250 x 250 metres around each well. The actual size of the wells to be drilled is about 30 x 30 cm.”

He said the exploration is just one part of a standard, step-by-step data collection process typically followed when exploring for underground resources.

“All of these various exploration steps are subjected to regulatory approvals as applicable in Namibia.”

Next step

“The next phase, if approved, will be 2D ground seismic surveys and then the drilling of exploration wells.”

According to Shifeta the company has applied for environmental clearance to undertake a 2D ground seismic survey and consultations took place at the exploration site and in Windhoek in recent weeks.

“Only if the exploration well discovers oil and gas, the final step in the exploration process will be to determine the economics of the find and to assess the characteristics of the reservoir and to determine if the discovered oil or gas can be produced economically, using either conventional or unconventional production methods.”

Shifeta stressed that this step in the process would require further approval.


He explained that fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the unconventional production process used to extract oil or gas from sedimentary rocks that are highly compacted with poor permeability.

“It remains to be seen whether Namibia has a commercially or economically viable oil or gas reserve at the exploration sites and whether there is a compacted sedimentary reservoir rock that would require the use of an unconventional oil or gas production process such as fracking in the area.”

Shifeta said that the ministry was fully aware of the risks involved with fracking and the experiences of many other countries using this production method.

“I am furthermore confident that we have appropriate laws and capacity to deal correctly with the specific project.”

Similar News


N$40k for 76 small stock slaughtered by lions

2 weeks ago - 21 July 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKA farmer from the Kunene Region will be paid N$40 000 in line with the National Human-Wildlife Conflict Management’s self-reliance...

Okavango River Basin ‘will be protected’

2 weeks ago - 21 July 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKMember states of the Okavango River Basin Water Commission (Okacom) have agreed that should ReconAfrica’s oil exploration pose a significant threat to the integrity...

Okonjima video borders on blackmail - ministry

2 weeks ago - 20 July 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe tourism ministry has condemned a video being circulated by the Okonjima Nature Reserve seeking to raise funds for rhino conservation.The ministry called the...

Napha condemns ‘gay rhino’ video

3 weeks ago - 13 July 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha) has condemned a controversial rhino video posted by the Okonjima Nature Reserve on several social media platforms, calling...

Community gardening initiative handed over to City

1 month - 02 July 2021 | Environment

Staff reporter The City of Windhoek has taken over activities at Farm Okukuna in Windhoek’s Goreangab informal settlement. The World Future Council recently handed it...

Communities lash out at Born Free Foundation

1 month - 01 July 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKCommunity leaders from six African countries, including Namibia, are accusing the Born Free Foundation of waging a campaign of disinformation against trophy hunting that...

Breakaway rumours from CITES surface again

1 month - 29 June 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers responsible for environment, natural...

Breakaway rumours from CITES surface again

1 month - 29 June 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers responsible for environment, natural resources and tourism have approved an Advisory Paper on Management and Disposal of...

Namibia works on restoring environment

1 month - 24 June 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKWorld Environment Day was commemorated earlier this month under the theme ‘ecosystem restoration’ in the Kavango West Region.The day was celebrated in collaboration with...

Kunene lion assessment will show population

1 month - 14 June 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe environment ministry has completed a ground and aerial assessment of the state of the desert-adapted lion population in the Kunene Region.The assessment established...

Latest News

Vaccinated northern chiefs urge subjects...

10 hours ago | Health

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI Communities often look to traditional and religious leaders for advice on how to live. In northern Namibia, these...

Ivory Coast to build 200...

10 hours ago | Economics

Ivory Coast is in talks to build a 200-megawatt power plant fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) as it seeks to avoid outages that rocked...

EDITORIAL: Happy 80th birthday, Mr...

10 hours ago | Opinion

Today we pause to wish, though belatedly, President Hage Geingob a revolutionary and happy birthday.On the day he turned 80, the usual pomp and fanfare...

DRC fire victims get new...

10 hours ago | Accidents

Adolf Kaure SWAKOPMUNDHome affairs minister Albert Kawana recently handed over 33 identity documents (IDs)...

IMF approves increased lending capacity

10 hours ago | Economics

The board of governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday greenlit increasing the institution's lending capacity by US$650 billion, the last step in...

Rwanda raises millions through a...

10 hours ago | Economics

Rwanda raised US$620 million through a 10-year Eurobond, the finance ministry said late on Monday, part of which will go towards retiring an outstanding dollar...

Suspected stock thieves on the...

10 hours ago | Crime

OTIS DANIELS SWAKOPMUNDPolice confirmed an incident of stock theft that took place at farm Waldheim between last Thursday and Sunday in the...

Delgado-Lühl citizenship judgement postponed

10 hours ago | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITH WINDHOEK The much anticipated judgement in a citizenship case of...

Nigerian doctors begin strike over...

10 hours ago | Economics

CAMILLUS EBOHResident doctors in Nigerian public hospitals began an indefinite strike on Monday over grievances that include the delayed payment of salaries and allowances, the...

Load More