Oil and gasoline explorations are underway within the Kavango basin in Northeast Namibia and Northwest Botswana, one in all Africa’s most delicate protected areas.
ReconAfrica, a Canadian-based oil and gasoline firm, drilled exploratory wells to offer an entire 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 largest oil finds of the previous few many years.
The corporate is collaborating with the governments of Botswana and Namibia to discover and ensure their assets, 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’s severe concern in regards to the influence the drilling might 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 assets in a focused oil and gasoline extraction space, particularly when contemplating the realm is an important 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, essentially the most pertinent subject revolves round water contamination. With fracking, a mix of chemical compounds 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 beneath and on the floor; if wells aren’t sealed correctly, they will leak into the underlying groundwater. There’s additionally little or no identified in regards to the underlying hydrogeology within the Kavango basin, which might current additional issues.
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 might additional seep into groundwater if it’s not sealed correctly or leech into surrounding streams. There are then issues that this might have an effect on the encircling 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, referred to as the exploration a silly wager; 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 presently open for public remark in Namibia. This report has been challenged by 37 Anglican Bishops and Archbishops from all over the world 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 website and drilling within the basin will fracture its geological construction and destroy the water system that helps this distinctive ecosystem and wildlife sanctuary.