Mines and energy minister, Tom Alweendo, yesterday confirmed that one of the world's biggest publicly owned oil and gas companies, Chevron, is interested in acquiring a majority stake in a deep-water exploration block offshore Namibia. According to sources, Chevron is particularly intent on securing exploration Block 2813B, directly north of the recent Venus discovery operated by TotalEnergies.
Speaking to New Era at the announcement of domestic fuel decreases, Alweendo explained that Chevron directly contacted the shareholders of the offshore block for possible acquisition.
If confirmed, this deal will signify Chevron's first southern Africa entry since a few years ago when it unsuccessfully attempted enter South Africa's onshore shale gas industry.
According to online publication, Upstream, the exploration block in question is operated by Australian company, Harmattan Energy, which gained control after Tullow Oil left the area shortly before both TotalEnergies and Shell unveiled significant hydrocarbon discoveries.
Upstream further reported that Harmattan holds a 37.06% stake in the block, with Trago Energy, controlled by Knowledge Katti, on 52.94% and state-owned Namcor holding 10%. Harmattan is controlled by Havoc Partners, which is led by Alan Stein.
"However, information published early this year by Toronto-listed Sintana Energy shows that Harmattan has a 37% stake in the block, with Grisham Assets Corporation on 33%, Inter Oil on 20% and Namcor on 10%. Sintana has a 49% interest in Inter Oil which, like Grisham, is believed to be controlled by Katti," Upstream stated.
Meanwhile, Sintana indicated the exploration block is covered by 2400-line kilometres of 2D seismic data and more than 7900 square kilometres of 3D data, while water depths range from 2300 to 3100 metres.
Furthermore, Sintana and partners have managed to secure an extension for an exploration licence for Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 83 from the Ministry of Mines and Energy. PEL 83 sits directly above Block 2913A, where Shell made its Graff-1 light oil discovery earlier this year. It is directly west of Kudu Gas field currently being developed by BW Energy.
"Sintana also has a carry interest in the blocks 2813A and 2814B, which are operated through PEL 83 and indirect interests in the adjacent blocks operated through PEL 90 and PEL 87," Upstream reported.
The increased interest in Namibia's Orange Basin comes after two significant discoveries were confirmed earlier this year. The first was Shell who confirmed a discovery at its Graff-1A well while the second light oil and associated gas discovery was made through the Venus prospect, located in block 2913B operated by TotalEnergies.
"Following the recent success of the Graff-1 well by Shell, this second light oil discovery by TotalEnergies has demonstrated the world-class potential of this new play in the deep-water of the Orange Basin, which could be a major game changer for Namibia's economy and its people. We look forward to the upcoming appraisal programme to quantify the extent of this major discovery," said Immanuel Mulunga, CEO of the National Petroleum Corporation (Namcor) at the time.
The Venus discovery is located approximately 290 kilometres off the coast of Namibia in a deep-water offshore exploration block. "The well was drilled to a total depth of 6 296 metres by the Maersk Voyager drillship and encountered a high-quality, light oil-bearing sandstone reservoir of Lower Cretaceous age," read a statement from Namcor.
Meanwhile, petroleum commissioner in the mines and energy ministry, Maggy Shino, also told the media that Namibia aims to fast track the development of the first oilfield to commence with production by 2026.
Said Shino: "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."