Following a big offshore discovery by Shell PLC, Namibia plans to accelerate the building of its first oilfield, with production expected by 2026, according to a senior energy official.
Shell made the large oil and gas discovery at a closely-watched offshore well in Namibia. The discovery can ignite a flood of investment in the southern African country.
Namibia does not generate fossil fuels, although its northern neighbor, Angola, is a major oil and gas producer and member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Shell said on last week Friday that the presence of a working petroleum system with light oil had revealed “encouraging” results in an exploration well off the coast of the southern African country.
“If we do this within the next four years that will be excellent for us, so as the Namibian government we have pledged our commitment to the joint venture team to walk hand-in-hand with them… to ensure we expedite the field development so that we can produce as quickly as possible,” Maggy Shino, petroleum commissioner at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said in the first official comments from the government since Shell’s announcement.
Shell’s Graff-1 well was drilled at more than 5,000 meters of water deep offshore. Shino said it was too early to say how much oil was found at the Graff-1 well or whether the new discovery was enough to establish a stand-alone project or if more investigation was needed in the area.
In a neighbouring block, TotalEnergies is now digging another well, Venus-1 at a depth of 3,000 metres.
“Give us enough time and by May, June, we be able to have enough data accessed to be able to confidently let you know about the quantity we are talking about here,” she said.
“If successful, Graff-1 could spark significant international investment to a region which has had minimal E&P exploration and production activity over the last 25 years,” IHS Markit analyst Hugh Ewan said in a note after Shell started drilling Graff-1 in December.
The size of the resource was not disclosed by Shell, however Shell owns a 45 percent share in the well’s location, Petroleum Exploration License 39 (PEL 39). Qatar Energy owns 45 percent of the company, while Namibia’s National Petroleum Corporation (NAMCOR) owns the remaining 10%.
Following discoveries in neighboring South Africa, Brazil, and Guyana, which share geological similarities, many foreign corporations have expressed interest in Namibia’s offshore potential, notably Exxon Mobil (XOM.N).