Namibia expects to produce first oil by 2030, with development plans underway for the eight discoveries made in the Orange Basin since 2022. This string of upstream success will not only create new opportunities for job creation, industrialisation and long-term economic growth, but has demonstrated the lucrative potential of offshore oil in southern Africa.

Namibia’s recent upstream success and future investment opportunities will be a key focus during the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) taking place from 23 to 25 April in Windhoek. Movers and shakers from across the global and Namibia energy sectors will convene to discuss pathways to unlocking the full potential of the Orange Basin while drawing attention to emerging opportunities in surrounding fields.

High-impact discoveries yield positive results

Multinational energy corporation Galp made two discoveries in PEL 83 this year, kicking 2024 off to an exciting start. The company discovered a column of light oil in high-quality reservoir-bearing sands at the Mopane-1X well in January 2024. This find was shortly followed by a second discovery at the well, following the drilling, coring and logging of a deeper target. Galp’s contracted rig has proceeded to spud the Mopane-2X well while a drill stem test is conducted at Mopane-1X.

Shortly after, super major TotalEnergies discovered hydrocarbon-bearing intervals at the Mangetti-1X well in Block 2913B. A probe is currently being drilled as the major aims to determine commercial viability. TotalEnergies’ most recent find follows a discovery made in 2022 which opened up the Orange Basin. The Venus-1 discovery – located in PEL 56 – represented one of the largest in the world since the turn of the century, and likely holds as much as two billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

Energy major Chevron filed for an environmental clearance certificate for oil and gas exploration in PEL 90 in November 2023. The company plans to drill five exploration wells and five appraisal wells, with the first well expected to be spud in Q4, 2024.

Energy major Shell has made four discoveries in the basin, with the Jonker-1, La Rona and Graff-1 wells expected to hold 1.7 billion barrels. The Jonker-1 alone likely holds as much as 300 million barrels. The fourth discovery made was the Lesedi-1X well. These discoveries have made the country one of the hottest oil plays worldwide, with approximately 11 billion barrels of reserves estimated to be held in the Orange Basin.

Looking ahead: M&A activity grows

Eager to replicate upstream success, a slate of exploration & production (E&P) companies have either entered or expanded their presence in the Orange Basin. TotalEnergies has dedicated 30% of its exploration and appraisal budget to the country while acquiring an additional 10.5% participating interest in Block 2913 and further 9.39% stake in Block 2912. Oil & gas exploration company Rhino Resources Namibia has plans to drill up to 10 wells in Block 2914, while E&P company Woodside Energy acquired a 56% interest in PEL 87 in March 2023.

Meanwhile, oil & gas company Africa Oil acquired an additional 6.25% interest in Block 3B/4B in the Orange Basin in July 2023, while private exploration firm Impact Oil & Gas agreed to finance additional exploration in Block 2912 with a $95-million open offer signed in May 2023.

NIEC: The official dealmaking platform for Namibian energy

Taking place under the theme, “Reimagine Resource-Rich Namibia: Turning Possibilities in Prosperity”, NIEC 2024 builds on the success of the upstream market to connect new players to Namibia’s offshore acreage. The event features discussions on development strategies, untapped market opportunities, potential partnerships, and many more, driving deals and multilateral business.

Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni, CEO and founder of NIEC organiser RichAfrica Consultancy, states: “Our newfound energy resources present immense potential… we must strategically prepare ourselves to harness the full value chain of these resources. Our theme encapsulates our vision to create a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for all Namibians and to position the country as a leading energy hub.”

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