By: Dwight Links
National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) managing director Immanuel Mulunga says that the second discovery of light oil and gas by TotalEnergies puts the country firmly among the energy-producing nations.
“I believe this find is commercially viable. The discovery translates to Namibia moving from just exploring to being a producer. This is a huge multi-billion barrel deposit for us,” Mulunga explains.
Mulunga points out that the two consecutive finds, separated by two weeks, have seen much interest from the world.
“After many unsuccessful attempts, this is the fruitful realisation we see,” he adds.
The next phase is the appraisal stage, confirmed by Mulunga and the Ministry of Mines and Energy for the Venus-1X discovery.
“The appraisal phase looks at more drilling and testing to establish the viability of the find,” Mulunga says.
Mulunga noted that the oil deposit is at ultra-depth levels in the sea, as the discovery forms part of the Orange Basin deposit of oil and gas where Shell Namibia Upstream BV also explored.
“The planned costs to then extract in the next five years can reach into the multi-billion dollars (US) to develop the infrastructure and associated facilities,” he added.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy announced the discovery in their statement issued on 24 February.
“The Venus-1X Deepwater oil discovery comes shortly after the Graff-1 oil discovery announcement. The discovery of oil in Namibian waters puts us in a good position and proves that the country is a great investment destination,” Andreas Simon, a ministry spokesperson, said.
This exercise is a joint venture with TotalEnergies owning 40%, QatarEnergy 30%, Impact Oil and Gas 20%, and Namcor 10%.
Mulunga said that critics of the 10% stake that Namcor has in exploring natural resources in and around the country should be thankful as Namibia is one of a handful of countries that claim a stake in these exercises.
“Our 10% translates to US$10 million (N$154.6 million) for the exploration only. The government does not have this money for us (Namcor), and we do not have this money either.”
“Namibia is covered in an arrangement with the other stakeholders who finance the entire operation. Once we start producing, we then repay what we owe for the initial input costs,” he explains.
“And, if you asked, why not 50/50? This would have required the country to pay upfront our 50% stake of the input costs,” Mulunga noted.
The Venus 1-x well is located in Block 2913B within the basin off the country’s southern coastline.
Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president of TotalEnergies, agreed that the discovery is up-and-coming as initial results prove the potential of this play in the basin.
McLachlan confirmed to international media that a comprehensive coring and logging program had been completed. This will enable the preparation of appraisal operations designed to assess the commercial viability of the discovery.
TotalEnergies’ find is in the same vicinity as the Graff-1 of Shell Namibia Upstream BV announced two weeks ago.