AFRICANGLOBE – After spending millions of dollars on exploratory drilling, Brazilian oil and gas exploration company High Resolution Technology (HRT) and Namibian businessman, Knowledge Katti, announced yesterday they found a liquid oil presence off the Namibian coast.
However, the drilling results for this first well show that the rock penetrated does not contain commercially viable oil reserves. The data analysis nevertheless shows two petroleum source rocks with indication of commercial oil reserves within the same vicinity. Drilling in these areas would commence soon.
Yesterday Katti and his team presented State House and senior Cabinet ministers samples of the liquid oil collected at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, a rare glimpse of the first ever discovered Namibian oil. The audience included Prime Minister Hage Geingob and Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali.
Unlike the previous announcement of an oil discovery, HRT’s recent discovery is not based on interpretation of seismic surveys, but actual flow of the liquid oil from the rocks at the bottom of the ocean.
Petroleum Commissioner in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Immanuel Mulunga, described the finding as exciting and different from the previous discoveries by other companies. “[HRT] actually drilled and they could see and touch the oil,” said Mulunga.
“This is great news for our exploration efforts during the last 10 years. For the first well, this is a very good result. It’s not a home run but it is a close second,” said Mulunga, adding that the results are more than the ministry expected but the discovery was not in the commercial quantities that they anticipated.
The results are first to confirm without doubt the existence of petroleum source rocks type that produce liquid oil, and not just petroleum gas, contrary to the previous results that have for years fueled fears that the Namibian offshore basin could only be home to petroleum gas. “For years there has been a concern that the only type of source rock in off-shore Namibia would be a gas-generating source rock. But we have proven with this well that we have source rocks that generate oil,” said Joe Paul, HRT America President.
HRT principals were the first to discover the largest oil reserves off the Brazilian coast recently, which HRT has always maintained mirror those of the Namibian basins, as they were once consolidated millions of years ago.
HRT will now commence drilling at the two wells in the next rocks believed to contain commercially viable oil.
“The information obtained, coupled with the results of preliminary studies of all data collected, allowed HRT to identify two well-developed source rocks, which are rich in organic carbon and both are within the oil-generating window. Also, the well encountered several thin-bedded sandy reservoirs that are saturated by oil,” the company announced yesterday.
The news comes just two months after HRT launched its first drilling exploration programme in early March, when they unveiled the 20-tonne semi-submersible Transocean Marianas that was to drill the wells, dubbed Wingat-1. The well was drilled to a total depth of 5,000 metres.
Paul said the next step was to find a field with oil and hopefully drill three more wells back to back. “This means that we will be taking four opportunities in our attempt to find commercial quantities of oil in offshore Namibia,” he added.
“The find and recovery of the first oil offshore Namibia make us feel confident that we will achieve our goals that were set for our drilling plans in the country. Our efforts will now proceed to our second exploration location in this basin – the Murombe-1 Well – which will target turbidite reservoirs located above and beneath these source rocks within the same PEL,”said HRT CEO, Milton Romeu Franke.
Murombe-1 Well will be drilled about 15 kilometers westward of Wingat-1 and will test a Cretaceous basin-floor fan and its spud-in is expected to happen later in May. HRT is the operator of 10 blocks offshore Namibia, which is contained in four petroleum licences. GALP Energia with a 14 percent participating interest, is HRT’s partner in the drilling of the first three wells of the current exploration campaign.
Katti revealed that it cost the company over N$800 million and 60 days to drill the Wingat-1 well. Mulunga said if HRT or any other exploration company finds commercially viable quantities of oil, the next step in the process would be to appraise the discovery to determine the amount of oil by drilling an appraisal well, which would reveal the amount of oil that could potentially be drilled.
By: Magreth Nunuhe and Edgar Brandt