July 7, 2011

Explorers find billions of barrels of oil

Namibia is preparing for a rush from international oil companies following the revelation that its oil reserves may total 11 billion barrels. Due to this estimation, the country would just be metres behind northern neighbours Angola, whose oil reserves are estimated to contain some 13 billion barrels.

Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali announced that Namibia could become an oil producer by as early 2015. Katali sounded confident in the activities of Enigma Oil and gas, which has identified five prospects along the northern part of the country's coast, which potentially contain 500 million barrels. "Enigma is currently actively seeking a deepwater rig to drill this well during the fourth quarter of 2011," the minister said of the company, a subsidiary of London-listed Chariot Oil & Gas. The company's southern block could contain up to four billion barrels of oil whose production is also planned for 2015/16, the minister announced. Also in the hunt for oil is Brazilian company HRT Oil and Gas, whose planned N$5 billion investment would be the biggest by a foreign investor in the Namibian oil and gas sector yet. Katali also revealed that HRT's blocks could contain up to 5.2 billion barrels of hydrocarbon resources, which would be drillable by year 2013. "This finding could turn offshore Namibia into a great producer of oil and gas in a short time," a confident Katali said. He also said that government would soon announce the return of some international majors back to Namibia, something he said would improve Namibia's image as a petroleum destination.

Namibia has long been touted as a potential oil producer, but nothing concrete has come to the fore yet to confirm this notion. Some companies have pulled out of their exploration campaigns along the country's west coast, many citing the high costs involved. But Katali is dismissive of those who criticise Namibia's petroleum potential. "There is now a great chance of success as the more data the country has the greater its chance of accurate drilling and consequently the opportunities for discovery are increased tremendously," he said.
Currently, Namibia hosts a total of 9140 km2 of 3D seismic data but this is expected to increase to 9900 km2 by the end of this year. (New Era)

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