“Namibia is oil and gas’s last great frontier. There are other frontiers out there but they are in more exotic areas such as the Arctic, which is very complicated. Namibia, on the other hand is much simpler, the infrastructure is already in the area.” These were quoted as the words of Gil Holzman, president and CEO of ECO Atlantic Oil & Gas.
The report also put the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) as saying that out of the 50 licenses that had been awarded so far about 11 exploratory wells and seven appraisal wells had been drilled, with Brazil’s HRT’s small-sized oil discovery at Wingat-1 well in the Walvis basin representing a strong success story.
Africa Oil Week team reported the confidence of the Namibian authorities as stemming from its location, surrounded by resource rich states in South Africa, Angola and Botswana. “The characteristics are quite well known,” Holzman was quoted to have added. “There is oil in South Africa and Angola, there is oil the other side of the Atlantic in the Campos and Santos Basins in Brazil.”
Holzman was also reported to have called Namibia Africa for beginners and a perfect place to start understanding the region. Adding, “When I go to Windhoek I feel like I am back in Zurich; it’s so clean and organized. It is also very stable; there have never been any tribal issues there. It’s English speaking and they have a rule of law. It’s the second rated country in Africa, after Botswana; they are neck and neck as the best countries in Africa to do business”, the report quoted.
“I have operated in many other regions and the Namibian Government is one of the most supportive governments for the oil and gas industry, mainly because they leave the international players to come and explore for oil. They understand the challenges, they are very supportive and very patient. To an extent they are real partners to the industry.”
Eco Atlantic’s interests in the region the report said were contained within the Walvis basin, said to be a highly active but underexplored oil and gas region. In 2013 a proven offshore petroleum system was discovered by HRT and since then there has been increased activities in the region by major oil companies. Meanwhile Eco Atlantic, report further revealed, has already acquired four offshore license blocks covering 23,000 km2 in the Walvis basin, with the four licenses strategically positioned. This has also encouraged influx of players especially recently.
“When we started together with Tower, Chariot and HRT back in 2010 we proved that there are at least two active petroleum systems in offshore Namibia,” Holzman continued. “Gradually we gained more traction and came onto the radar of more of the industry players. Today in 2018 you see ExxonMobil, Total, Shell, ONGC and Tullow in the basin. The bigger names came in after the smaller companies have proved the resources, and this is exactly how it should work.”
“The oil is there, but you must understand that it is a huge area of water; each block is between 5,000 and 10,000 square kilometres,” he explained. “Oil exploration is risky and expensive, so it takes time to de-risk the basin and understand where the oil might have been trapped and where it has migrated to. But the prize is big, we know that because of the huge structures underneath the ocean. Once someone hits oil we are talking millions or even billions of barrels.”