President Hage Geingob yesterday said Canadian oil explorer ReconAfrica could potentially add significant employment to the Kavango East region where, together with its joint venture partner Namcor, it is looking for a conventional petroleum system in the Okavango Basin.
ReconAfrica’s latest results, based on a mud logging report and geochemical analysis, confirm its initial findings pointing of hydrocarbons in its first two test wells.
Welcoming Craig Steinke, co-founder of Renaissance Oil Corporation, ReconAfrica’s parent company, to State House for a courtesy visit, President Geingob said the jobs created in the Kavango East region by the ReconAfrica investment will significantly contribute to the deterioration of the high poverty rate the area has been experiencing.
“This is a good project to help revive the Kavango region’s livelihoods. Let us stop the negativity as it drives away potential investors in the country,” stated Geingob.
ReconAfrica started drilling on the first of three wells in January stating that the Okavango Basin is capable of generating billions of barrels of oil.
Steinke said the aim of yesterday’s courtesy call was to brief the President on the oil exploration venture.
Steinke stated Recon’s arrival to invest in Namibia came a long and emanated from the Namibian government inviting Canadian companies to help develop energy resources.
“Namibia was chosen because of its appropriate fiscal terms and a good infrastructure. We are not here by chance but is after deep analysis,” said Steinke.
He added together with concerned stakeholders they are travelling to Rundu for consultations and to engage all relevant groups in the Kavango.
The Canadian mentioned traditional authorities, conservancy members and regional governors as some of the stakeholders to whom they will explain their operations.
However, environmentalists and community leaders have consistently claimed the company did not consult before starting its activities and that the drilling can threaten the ecosystem through potential oil spillage, noise pollution and water contamination.
Said Steinke: “What is important for us is taking care of the environment. We understand how important it is to consult and have a strong environmental assessment. Now that we have established that the basin holds oil and gas the next step is to establish commerciality. Within a year we should have a good understanding of the commerciality of the basin.”
Desperate for investment
Meanwhile, mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo, at yesterday’s meeting said Namibia should prioritise investments such as ReconAfrica’s as this will greatly help the economy recover after the deep contractions it has been going through.
“We should all be desperate for investment knowing that the economy has not been growing. This is a good project, and the country is desperate for it, but not at the expense of the environment,” Alweendo added.
He further noted Namibia has an environmental legislation to monitor such projects and cautioned the public against negative views. He said that through each step of developing the project ReconAfrica has to apply for a permit, provided they have shown adequate environmental care.
“Let us insist that the company does what they do within what the Act demands. Consultation is important and the government needs to make sure that this continues,” said Alweendo.
Tracking ESG progress
Through its environmental social and governance (ESG) programme report ReconAfrica’s ESG progress will be tracked and measured on an ongoing basis and will continue to evolve as the company expands its activities in Namibia and Botswana.
These indicators, the company explained, will be influenced by both operational developments and feedback from a range of Namibian, Batswana and international stakeholders and ESG experts.
To date, ReconAfrica has dedicated N$112 million toward its ESG initiatives and its developing plans to implement its own carbon-neutral objectives to address national net zero carbon emission targets and to align with Namibian and Botswanan goals. Recon Africa has also initiated an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions tracking for ongoing and planned operations. Future goals are also likely to be shaped by carbon-reduction commitments established by various levels of governments in their operating regions.
The next phase
Now that Recon Africa and Namcor have confirmed a working conventional hydrocarbon system within the first of a potential five sub basins, the joint venture operation will be using drilling and 2D seismic data to determine the planning and execution of future drilling locations.
In addition to potential production testing results from the first two wells, future drilling locations are expected to target potential hydrocarbon bearing structures from the seismic program with the purpose of achieving commercial levels of oil and natural gas production.
It is expected that once the seismic data is acquired, an additional one or two wells might be drilled this year in 2021 with a further two to four wells drilled in the first half of 2022.
Depending on the results of the acquired 2D seismic data, this will further accelerate the overall evaluation, exploration, and development of more than 13 000 square kilometers in Namibia and Botswana.
Project update… Co-founder of Renaissance Oil Corporation, Craig Steinke yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Hage Geingob at State House.