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ReconAfrica adamant it operates within the law

2021-10-08  Staff Reporter

ReconAfrica adamant it operates within the law
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CANADIAN-based oil company ReconAfrica, which is exploring for black gold in the Kavango basin, says it remains committed to being guided by and is in compliance with the country’s Environmental Management Plan, Environmental Clearance Certificate and all Namibian laws regulating petroleum activities in the country. 

“Our operations continue to be guided by our Environmental Management Plan (EMP), a compass to environmental compliance. We further continue to ensure the 2D seismic data acquisition is undertaken in a manner to enhance our knowledge of the Kavango sedimentary basin, while uplifting the socio-economic context of our immediate communities in the Kavango East and Kavango West regions,” read a statement from ReconAfrica spokesperson Ndapewoshali Shapwanale. 

She said the acquisition of seismic data, in compliance with the EMP and the Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) is on schedule, with approximately 95% of the data acquired and currently being processed. 

“As the first full onshore seismic survey in the area, the data quality is within our expectations, and having the geologic data from the two stratigraphic wells provides needed context to the processing,” Shapwanale explained. 

ReconAfrica’s 2D seismic operation in the Kavango East and Kavango West regions is being implemented within the legal context of the ECC conditions that clearly stipulate the need for compliance to the EMP, which details the approach and processes that need to be implemented in order to avoid adverse environmental and social impacts. 

Furthermore, Shapwanale stated that the seismic operation is within the context of approved seismic lines embedded within already existing district roads and/or sandy access pathways, all used by local commuters. As most of the sandy access pathways are heavily infested by bushes, certain seismic lines require minimum diversion to mitigate for buffer zones around immediate structures while other lines may be extended, within the provisions of the EMP and ECC, to allow for high resolution in data acquisition. 

“These processes, again, are guided by the EMP and subscribe to the need for ground assessment and consultation of stakeholders, including the immediate communities and conservancies. ReconAfrica has extensively conducted these ground assessments and consultations. We have hired community liaison officers within the areas of our operation to ensure continued ground assessment and consultations, especially with the immediate communities,” she noted. 

ReconAfrica is adamant that their Explorer 860 truck, used for  exploration activities, is similar to a farmer’s tractor and operates at an idle, minimising sound disturbance. Furthermore, the weight-drop which generates a thump as it hits the ground operates at a low frequency designed to not interfere with the receiving environment. 

Additionally, ReconAfrica stated that its seismic energy emanates from a non-explosive energy source generated mechanically at a ground surface. 

“The guidelines implemented follow the Distance Requirements Exploration Directive 2006-15/ESRD for a non-explosive energy source, where a 50m to 100m distance buffer zone is implemented. 

ReconAfrica employs industry best-practices throughout its operations, and conforms to an environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach to business activities. These, they said, are conducted responsibly, involve the participation of communities, traditional authorities, governments and other stakeholders and also includes their input and feedback. 

The company has to date hired well over 300 Namibians, with plans to employ more as the project evolves. The Namibian workforce includes engineers and electricians; environmental and wildlife specialists; project managers (construction, environment, wildlife surveying, water and hydrology); rig workers; mechanical and logistics; HS&E; communications and government relations; administrative assistants; drivers, machine operators and general labourers. 

“Our local hire and local procurement approach has significantly contributed to the local economy of the two regions. ReconAfrica is exploring in Namibia and Botswana at the invitation of the national governments. We have, in Namibia, consulted extensively with communities, traditional authorities, local, regional and national governments as well a range of other relevant stakeholders regarding both the seismic and stratigraphic programmes. In Botswana, we have consulted with national, regional and local governments as well as the traditional authorities - ahead of commencing activities. Furthermore, in Namibia, ReconAfrica has a joint operating agreement with the state-owned oil-and-gas company, NAMCOR. Ultimately, the people of Namibia and Botswana, through their traditional authorities, elected governments and regulatory agencies, will determine how they will manage their natural resources,” Shapwanale added.

2021-10-08  Staff Reporter

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