Energy Capital & Power

Top International Oil Companies Exploring Namibia’s Hydrocarbon Basins

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Namibia has over 11 billion barrels of oil and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and yet, much of the country’s hydrocarbon potential has remained largely untapped. Representing one of the final frontiers for oil and gas exploration worldwide, and with lucrative investment opportunities across the entire energy value chain, Namibia has seen an influx in international oil company (IOC) participation. These IOCs, working in collaboration with the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, will be catalysts for Namibia’s hydrocarbon boom.

Shell Namibia Upstream B.V.

Multinational oil and gas company, Shell, has been actively exploring Namibia’s offshore basins since 2014. Having completed three seismic surveys of the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 39 – of which Shell has a 45% participating interest – between 2014 and 2019, the company went on to safely drill the first exploration well in the Graff-1 well in the license. In February 2022, Shell announced the discovery of a sizable quantity of light oil from Graff-1, ushering in a new era of hydrocarbon exploration and production in the country.


Having teamed up with Shell in April 2021 for the exploration of deepwater blocks in Namibia, QatarEnergy has worked closely with NAMCOR, the Ministry and Shell within the upstream oil and gas space. As a joint venture partner of Shell for the PEL 39 – with a participating interest of 45% – Qatar has been committed to Namibia’s exploration potential. With the light oil discovery made in 2022, Qatar is even more focused on offshore upstream activities, with interests in three areas, namely PEL 39; 2912; and 2913B.

Reconnaissance Energy Africa

Canadian independent exploration company Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) has been exploring Namibia’s onshore prospects in the Kavango Basin. Having drilled three conventional exploratory stratigraphic wells in 2021, the company announced preliminary results from April 2021, whereby the first and second wells revealed a working petroleum system. Now, as exploratory drilling continues, in February 2022, ReconAfrica signed a letter of intent for the acquisition of 5% of NAMCOR’s carried participating interest in the 6.3-million-acre PEL 73, thereby strengthening its presence and interest in the basin.


International oil and gas major, ExxonMobil, has placed ‘investing in Namibia’s future’ at the center of the company’s strategy in the country. Having increased its exploration acreage with the addition of approximately 7 million acres, the company is committed to exploring frontier basins across Namibia. ExxonMobil signed an agreement with the government of Namibia and NAMCOR for blocks 1710 and 1810, as well as farm-in agreements with NAMCOR for blocks 1711 and 1811A in 2019.

Eco Atlantic

Canadian based oil and gas exploration company, Eco Atlantic, has cemented its footprint in Namibia’s upstream market, holding interests in four offshore petroleum licenses that total 28,593km². Of the four licenses, Eco Atlantic operates three. As an oil and gas exploration company focused on the acquisition and development of unique upstream petroleum opportunities, Eco Atlantic has been keen on Namibia’s significant hydrocarbon potential, with the company continuing to drive progress year after year. Meanwhile, Eco Atlantic signed a deal for the acquisition of the private exploration company Azinam in February 2022. Following a Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies in January 2022, the acquisition comprises the company’s additional working interests in its current oil blocks where Azinam is a partner. Accordingly, Eco Atlantic is strengthening its presence in new and existing assets in Namibia.


French energy major, TotalEnergies, operates the deep offshore exploration blocks 2913B (40%) and 2912 (37,78%) as well as a network of more than 30 retail stations across the country. Highly successful in the retail industry, the company is now committed to expanding upstream progress. In December 2021, the company commenced the drilling of the ultra-deepwater Venua-1X exploration, which is located in Namibia block 2913B. Having previously conducted 3D seismic surveys, TotalEnergies is ambitious in its exploration approach in the country.

Africa Energy Corp

Africa Energy Corp holds an effective 14.62% interest in the PEL 37 in Namibia, as well as one-third of the company Pancontinental Namibia which holds a 43.85% participating interest in PEL 37. Located in the Walvis Basin offshore Namibia, covering an area of 17,295km², PEL 37 offers significant resource potential, leading to accelerated efforts by Africa Energy Corp and its joint partners to explore and develop the basin. While further exploration campaigns proceed in 2022 and beyond, Africa Energy Corp is positioning itself at the forefront of Namibia’s hydrocarbon growth.

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Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands is the Deputy Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She holds a Higher Certificate in Professional Photography and Masters in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town. Charné writes content for ECP's website and events as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery.