Search for oil and gas resumes

27 May 2019 | Business

A British and Canadian company, Reconnaissance Oil and Gas, has applied for an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to drill for oil and gas on state land in the communal areas of Kavango West and Kavango East.

Written comments on this application must be submitted before 30 May to the environmental consultant on the project, Risk-Based Solutions.

The final environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management plan (EMP) will be submitted to the ministry of environment and tourism on 31 May. Once the ECC and other permits – like freshwater and wastewater permits, explosives import permits and radiation sources permits – have been issued, drilling will start. The proposed drilling is to start in November and December.

Two of the wells planned in Kavango West are just north of the Siyesu and the Ngcasawa areas; the one planned for Kavango East is around the Kawe area along the D3400 road.

It the ECC is granted, test wells will be drilled to depths of between 2.5 and 3.5 kilometres. The environmental consultant on the project, Risk-Based Solutions, which has recommended that an ECC be issued to the company, said in the event of discovery of an active petroleum system, the socio-economic landscape of the two Kavango regions and Namibia as a whole will be “immensely and positively transformed for the benefit of all Namibians”.



PEL No 73

Reconnaissance Energy Namibia, the Namibian-registered subsidiary of Reconnaissance Oil & Gas, holds petroleum exploration licence (PEL) No 73, which covers blocks 1719, 1720, 1721, 1819, 1820, and 1821 in the Etosha Basin, which forms part of the greater Kalahari Basin.

The two drilling areas fall within the boundaries of the Mbunza and Sambyu traditional authorities, and according to Risk-Based Solutions, these areas are situated in remote and sparsely populated areas.

The proposed drilling is to establish the possibility of the Etosha Basin's potential for economically viable hydrocarbon (oil and gas) reserves.

Water needed for the drilling project will be drawn from groundwater sources that are recharged by the Omatako ephemeral river channel.

Risk-Based Solutions indicated that the drill locations are accessible and no large trees will be cut down in the process.

Once the drilling is complete (anticipated to take between 20 and 30 days per well), the affected areas will be reclaimed to minimise surface disturbance.

By 2016 the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) listed 43 companies holding on- and offshore petroleum exploration licences (PELs).

According to that information (Transparencyoil.org) Reconnaissance Oil & Gas owns 90% of the licence; Namcor holds the remaining 10%.



Offshore search

The ministry of mines and energy and Namcor have also signed an agreement with another UK-based company, GeoPartners UK, for the acquisition of widely spaced regional mapping of the Aptian Source Kitchen (ASK) Namibia 2019 2D offshore seismic survey.

The survey covers the Walvis Basin (in the central offshore area) and the Namibe Basin (offshore close to the Angolan border).

Offshore seismic surveys in Namibia started as early as 1968, but Risk-Based Solutions said a lot more needs to be done to have a full understanding of the petroleum systems offshore.

The ultimate aim is to identify potential drill-ready subsurface geological structures called reservoirs that could contain hydrocarbons.

The Nordic Explorer will be used as the vessel from which the survey is to be conducted.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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