Oil and gasoline explorations are underway within the Kavango basin in Northeast Namibia and Northwest Botswana, one in every of Africa’s most delicate protected areas.
ReconAfrica, a Canadian-based oil and gasoline firm, drilled exploratory wells to offer a whole image of the geological space in April 2021. They introduced that preliminary outcomes point out that there’s a working petroleum system within the Kavango basin. There are estimated to be as much as 120 billion barrels of oil, which might make it one of many greatest oil finds of the previous few a long time.
The corporate is collaborating with the governments of Botswana and Namibia to discover and make sure their sources, receiving permission from the Namibian authorities to construct three wells for exploration research. ReconAfrica owns a 90% curiosity in petroleum exploration in Nambia and 100% exploration rights within the Kavango basin of Botswana, the place, if the exploration proves profitable, they are going to be entitled to a 25-year manufacturing license.
There may be severe concern in regards to the influence the drilling may have on the interconnected waterways of the basin. Surina Esterhuyse on the College of Free State’s centre for environmental administration commented that there’s little identified about groundwater sources in a focused oil and gasoline extraction space, particularly when contemplating the world is a crucial transboundary water useful resource.
There are quite a few potential risks, however as a result of the drilling websites are upstream from the Okavango delta, probably the most pertinent problem revolves round water contamination. With fracking, a combination of chemical substances and water are injected into the underlying shale at excessive stress to crack open the rock formations to launch the trapped oil and gasoline.
This poses dangers under and on the floor; if wells are usually not sealed correctly, they will leak into the underlying groundwater. There may be additionally little or no identified in regards to the underlying hydrogeology within the Kavango basin, which may current additional problems.
On the floor, a big pit is used for the waste fluids that rise again to the floor after fracking. This poses additional potential dangers because it may additional seep into groundwater if it’s not sealed correctly or leech into surrounding streams. There are then considerations that this might have an effect on the encompassing wildlife, which incorporates elephants, wild canine and martial eagle, the latter two are critically endangered.
Lately deceased Wits scientist Bob Scholes, who served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change, known as the exploration a silly guess; that speculating on a brand new main fossil gasoline useful resource when the world has an overabundant provide and a necessity to cut back consumption, stating that it’s morally and environmentally doubtful.
The corporate did compile an environmental influence report which is at the moment open for public remark in Namibia. This report has been challenged by 37 Anglican Bishops and Archbishops from world wide who’ve signed a petition that calls on Namibia to halt exploratory drilling within the Kavango. Their petition learn that the environmentally delicate space provides water to the Okavanga Delta, a world heritage web site and drilling within the basin will fracture its geological construction and destroy the water system that helps this distinctive ecosystem and wildlife sanctuary.