Namibia could consider joining OPEC if recent offshore oil discoveries prove to be large enough for commercial development, Namibian petroleum commissioner Maggy Shino told Bloomberg on Wednesday, as oil majors that have made recent discoveries prepare for appraisal drilling.
TotalEnergies made in February a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect offshore southern Namibia. The initial results are “very promising” in the so-called Orange Basin, Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President of Exploration at TotalEnergies, said at the time.
Venus in Namibia could be a “giant oil and gas discovery,” TotalEnergies said in an investor presentation last month. Appraisal and testing are slated for 2023.
Shell said in April that it was “very encouraged” by the early results from the deepwater Graff-1 exploration well in the same Orange Basin offshore Namibia, completed earlier this year.
“Over the coming months, we’ll need to conduct further evaluation of the well results, and additional exploration activity, in order to determine the size and recoverable potential of the hydrocarbons that were identified,” said Dennis Zekveld, Shell’s Country Chair in Namibia.
Shell also made a second discovery in the Orange basin in April.
Shell’s Graff and TotalEnergies’ Venus discoveries could be transformational for Namibia, analysts at Wood Mackenzie said earlier this year.
“There’s a new kid on the block in Sub-Saharan Africa’s upstream industry. After two successive giant offshore discoveries, Namibia is the hottest play in the region right now,” WoodMac said in March.
But Namibia, as well as Shell and TotalEnergies, will have to wait until the appraisal and testing programs are completed next year to see if the early promising results really meant that the oil discoveries are giant. The economy of Namibia, neighbor to the south of OPEC producer Angola, is currently valued at around $11 billion. If the discoveries are developed, they could double the country’s GDP.