Namibia eyes more deep wildcats

Sand dunes - Namibia12 November 2014 – Namibia sees as many as five oil exploration wells being drilled in 2016 as companies searching for deposits off the southwest African coast are undeterred by 19 dry wells.

Tullow Oil and Shell, which has two exploration blocks in the Orange River Basin, will probably sink wells in 2016, Namibia’s Petroleum Commissioner Immanuel Mulunga said.

Murphy Oil may drill toward the end of 2015 or early 2016, he said.

“In 2016 we might have three to five wells being drilled,” Mulunga said in a phone interview in Windhoek yesterday.

“There could be some other players which might also drill during that same time,” he said, citing HRT, Serica Energy and Chariot Oil & Gas.

Basins off Namibia have attracted attention from the world’s biggest oil explorers on a bet the nation’s coastal shelf may mirror that of Brazil across the Atlantic and its northern neighbor Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

The government may revoke some of the 46 exploration licenses it has awarded if the holders have not met their obligations, said Mulunga.

Tullow Oil is planning to drill a well in 2016, George Cazenove, a spokesman for the London-based company, said in an e-mailed statement.

Shell is conducting a seismic survey in its license area 250 kilometres off the Namibian coast and once that data has been analysed, the company will make a decision on whether to proceed with an exploration well, said spokeswoman Kayla Macke.

Murphy Oil, which has two exploration blocks in the Luderitz basin, said on 7 November that it is proposing to drill as many as two possible exploration wells to appraise the potential of the geological structure.

“We are not panicking even after all these dry wells,” said Mulunga. “I know a discovery will come.”

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