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Faith Nyasuguta

While most oil-producing nations in Africa are concentrated in the Western, Northern, and Central regions, the Southern and Eastern parts have largely remained devoid of this valuable resource. Aside from Angola, no Southern African country has significantly contributed to the global oil market. 

However, recent discoveries in Namibia are poised to change this dynamic, potentially positioning the country as a new key player in the industry.

According to a report by Reuters, Namibia has seen several significant oil explorations by major global oil companies in recent years. In 2023, the National Petroleum Company of Namibia (NAMCOR) announced the discovery of light oil 270 kilometers off the Namibian coast. 

Although Namibia has yet to produce oil, companies like Total Energies and Shell have identified an estimated 2.6 billion barrels of reserves, with Chevron aiming to make its own discoveries by 2025.

These discoveries have led experts to predict that Namibia could commence oil production by 2030. Key exploration hotspots include the Orange Basin, Luderitz, Kavango, and Walvis basins.

Major Oil Firms Invest in Namibian Potential

/Oil Price/

Several major oil firms are actively exploring Namibia’s oil potential. Italy’s Eni, for instance, has entered into a farm-in agreement for a 42.5% interest in an offshore Orange Basin license, partnering with BP and exploration firm Rhino Resources.

Portuguese oil firm Galp has also been testing its Mopane-1X and Mopane-2X wells. In April, Galp estimated that the Mopane field could contain at least 10 billion barrels of oil after initial explorations. The PEL 83 hotspot appears to be one of the largest reserves discovered in the Orange Basin.

Meanwhile, Shell is exploring offshore oil and gas in PEL 39 and has ventured into the Orange Basin with joint venture partners QatarEnergy and NAMCOR. PEL 39 covers 12,000 square kilometers and includes seven drilled wells. The Graff well alone has the potential to store 2.38 billion barrels of oil, while the Jonker-1X well holds an additional 2.5 billion barrels.

At the beginning of the year, Total Energies agreed to acquire an additional 10.5% stake in Block 2913B and 9.39% in Block 2912. The company plans to allocate around 30% of its $1 billion exploration and appraisal budget to Namibia in 2024. 


Having launched operations in Namibia in 1964, Total Energies currently holds two deep offshore exploration zones and a 40% operating interest, with QatarEnergy, Impact Oil and Gas, and NAMCOR holding 30%, 20%, and 10% shares, respectively.

These developments mark a potential paradigm shift for Southern Africa’s oil landscape, with Namibia poised to emerge as a significant oil producer. If these projections hold true, the country could begin to play a crucial role in the global oil market by the end of this decade.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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