ExxonMobil is expanding its exploration acreage in Namibia with, adding around 7 million net acres (28,000 square kilometers).
Exxon has signed an agreement with the government of Namibia and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) for blocks 1710 and 1810, and farm-in agreements with NAMCOR for blocks 1711 and 1811A.
The blocks extend from the shoreline to about 135 miles (215 kilometers) offshore Namibia in water depths up to 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). ExxonMobil plans to begin exploration activities in 2019, including the acquisition of seismic data and analysis.
Mike Cousins, senior vice president of exploration and new ventures at ExxonMobil: “These agreements provide ExxonMobil with an opportunity to explore for hydrocarbons using advanced technology in the frontier Namibe basin. We will employ our significant upstream experience and technological expertise and work in close collaboration with NAMCOR in exploring these blocks.”
ExxonMobil will operate blocks 1710 and 1810 and hold a 90 percent interest; NAMCOR will hold a 10 percent interest. ExxonMobil will assign 5 percent of its interest to a local Namibian company.
Furthermore, ExxonMobil will operate blocks 1711 and 1811A, and with an 85 percent interest. NAMCOR will retain a 15 percent interest. ExxonMobil also holds a 40 percent interest in the PEL 82 license offshore Namibia, comprising about 2.8 million gross acres (11,500 square kilometers).
The year 2018 was not fruitful when it comes to offshore exploration in Namibia, as Tullow and Chariot’s wells Cormorant and Prospect S, came up dry.
In 2019, Namibian offshore acreage holders will be closely watching at France’s Total and its Venus well in Namibia’s ultra-deep offshore that is expected to be spud later this year.
According to a report by Wood Mackenzie, the ultra-deepwater wildcat will target 2 billion barrels of oil in a giant Cretaceous fan play, close to the South African maritime boundary.
Located on block 2913B, this giant prospect has multi-billion barrel potential. Its 3,000 meters water depth will be a record for Africa. However, Namibian exploration is more associated with dusters than gushers, so there is risk here, WoodMac said in its analysis earlier this year.
Rystad Energy has said that the Venus will be the deepest well ever drilled in Africa, and is considered to be the largest prospect ever in Namibia.