Reconnaissance Africa has defended its drilling plans in northern Namibia, denying that it will carry out operations in environmentally sensitive areas.
“There’s a lot of confusion around what we’re doing. This is opening a new sedimentary basin where there are no wells. We have to prove an active petroleum system,” major ReconAfrica shareholder Craig Steinke told Energy Voice.
“We have to drill through the entire system, through the conventional formations and into the source rock. At the same time as we’re drilling we’re going to be shooting seismic in order to delineate conventional traps,” he continued.
ReconAfrica is seeking 400 km of 2D vibroseis seismic on the area. Drilling and seismic should begin in December.
The company plans to core and log its two or three wells in order to understand the geology. “What we’re after is conventional plays,” Steinke reiterated. “They’re shallow and economic to produce.”
The company’s desire to understand the source rock has led to some confusion. “In our pursuit to understand that source rock, some local papers have alleged we’re going to be fracking,” Steinke said. The official went on to note reports that the company would be drilling on the banks of the Kavango River.
The closest ReconAfrica’s planned wells will be to the river is 50 km away, he said. “We’re out in the scrub brush of the Kalahari Desert.”
Steinke also rejected the suggestion that the company was not complying with environmental standards. ReconAfrica has just started its environmental assessment work in Botswana, over the border from Namibia.
A report in South Africa’s Daily Maverick raised concerns about rock paintings by the San people in Botswana. “These are bona fide environmental certificates”, Steinke said, “we comply with the rules”.
The ReconAfrica shareholder went on to note the economic benefits of a hydrocarbon discovery on a local community. Steinke noted this own experience growing up in northern Alberta, where the discovery of gas provided employment. This allowed him to pay his way through university.
“It changes peoples’ lives. I’ve experienced this, I didn’t just read it in a book. The importance of the relationship between the farmer or rancher and the driller is key. You are partners,” Steinke said. “If we’re successful, it’s good for our investors but it’s also good for the government and the community.”