After reviewing and approving ReconAfrica’s application, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT) through the office of the Environmental Commissioner recently issued an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) to the company for drilling exploration and appraisal wells in the Kavango Basin to begin the next phase of their oil and gas exploration work programme.
The issuance of the ECC was done per the provisions of the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Act No. 7 of 2007) and the EIA Regulations, 2012.
In a recent press release, the Environmental Commissioner, Timoteus Mufeti, noted that Namibia’s economy is primarily dependent on natural resources.
“There is no potential conflict between the development of the oil and gas industry and Namibia’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. The two can coexist and complement each other. Namibia is working towards reducing the effects of global warming on communities and sectors through short and long-term resilience and adaption strategies.”
He further explained that as part of the progressive processes of de-risking the Kavango Sedimentary Basin (KSB), REN is proposing to drill prioritized exploration and appraisal wells designed to confirm the existence of economic oil and/or gas resources within the delineated targets/prospects based on additional 2D seismic survey data acquisition and interpretation, airborne geophysical surveys and the stratigraphic well data sets.
The objectives of the proposed exploration and appraisal wells drilling programme are to continue, with the search for oil and gas in the Kavango Sub Basin and the associated subbasins and to identify potential commercial petroleum systems, he added.
“The office of the Environmental Commissioner, empowered by the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Act No. 7 of 2007) as well as the EIA Regulations, 2012 must ensure that identified and listed economic activities are cleared for possible environmental impact. It includes avoiding, mitigating, rehabilitating, and offsetting such impacts an activity has on the environment. To date, Namibia has managed its environmental matters very well, and the trend will continue into the future,” he said.
Mufeti also emphasized that based on the submitted EIA and EMP Reports, previous studies conducted in the area since 2018, as well as MEFT’s experiences and environmental monitoring, his office, via a systematic assessment, is convinced that the potential negative impacts on the local individual drilling sites, regions (Kavango East and West Regions), nation, transboundary (KAZA TFCA), and globally interconnected ecosystems will be low, manageable and can be mitigated.
According to the Environmental Commissioner, consultation efforts were carried out over January and February 2023, with a focus on interested and affected parties, local communities, including land owners, and traditional authorities.
Meanwhile, the approved ECC application was registered with the Environmental Commissioner in MEFT under Application No. 00459, as listed on the MEFT Portal at www.eia.meft.gov.na. A formal screening notice from the Environmental Commissioner in terms of assessment procedures as provided for in Section 35 (1)(a)(b) of the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Act No. 7 of 2007) was issued and used in the preparation of the Scoping, EIA, and EMP Reports as well as all other required submittals in support of the application for the ECC.
“The approval of the ECC for REN has been done based on national laws, regulations, and structures of Government created with key responsibilities of managing various aspects of the petroleum (oil and gas) exploration and production, environmental management, water, atmospheric pollution prevention, health, and labour as well as other indirect laws linked to the accessory services and engineering works.
“The government recognizes that the country’s energy sector and energy security are strategically important pillars of achieving our sustainable development goals. Namibia’s energy mix policy strategy strives to strike a balance on the various sources of energy by utilizing all possible and available energy sources to achieve our current and future, short- and long-term national development goals,” he said.
Although there is increased pressure on countries like Namibia to transition away from fossil fuels and to low-carbon energy sources like hydropower, solar, and wind, he noted, adding that such an energy transition must be done in a way that is “fair and affordable” for developing countries like Namibia.
“Namibia is working towards reducing the effects of global warming on communities and sectors through short and long-term resilience and adaption strategies. The commercialization of oil and gas resources will provide the much-needed resources for Namibia to be able to fight Climate Change on its terms together with the international community,” Mufeti concluded.
Source : ECONOMIST