Oil companies have invested N$25 billion drilling for oil offshore Namibia since 1990, Vice Chairman of the Namibia Petroleum Operators Association, Dennis Zedveld, said this week.
Zedveld said he is confident that Namibia will strike oil soon, giving an example of countries like Norway that had a lot of misses before oil was eventually found in the 1960s.
The number of oil exploration licences issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy has jumped from two in 2007 to 14 in 2018, but oil drilling has not taken place in Namibia since 2014, although Tullow Oil and Chariot Enigma are expected to start drilling operations this year.
Zedveld said the benefits of any oil find in Namibia would be taxes and royalties to the state, significant export earnings, direct and indirect employment and the supply of reliable and competitively priced energy.
“A commercial oil discovery would be transformational for Namibia,” he said.
Since 1993, 19 wells have been drilled off the Namibian coast with no commercial discovery yet.
“Companies have invested billions of dollars in exploration activities, but there has been no commercial discovery since independence.”
The companies that have drilled for oil in Namibia include, Norsk Hydro, Ranger Oil, Sasol, Chevron, Shell, Tullow Oil, Energulf, Chariot, Petrobas, HRT and Repsol.
Namibia has actively promoted its exploration and development potential since independence, with operators increasing their understanding of the petroleum geology of the region.
Talking about challenges, Zedveld said the large number of dry wells was problematic as well as the huge sums of money needed for the drilling.
“New investments will be heavily dependent on the country’s policies, which need to be predictable and competitive in the global context to attract exploration investments,” he said.
Deputy Mines and Energy Minister, Kornelia Shilunga, recently told Parliament that the ministry has enhanced its database with up to 834 km line of 2D seismic data and about 1,150 square kilometers (km2) of 3D having been acquired.
Another survey acquiring more than 3 000 square kilometers of 3D data is currently ongoing within the Walvis basin.
She said the interpretation of a combination of these data together with other information available has enabled a number of prospects and leads to be mapped, taking the country a step closer to a discovery of commercial volumes of hydrocarbons.
Shilunga said the geological mapping with High Resolution Airborne Geophysics continues to drive exploration interest in Namibia.