Oil and fuel 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 fuel firm, drilled exploratory wells to supply 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 largest oil finds of the previous couple of a long time.
The corporate is collaborating with the governments of Botswana and Namibia to discover and ensure 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 concerning the impression 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 recognized about groundwater sources in a focused oil and fuel 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 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 fuel.
This poses dangers beneath and on the floor; if wells are usually not sealed correctly, they’ll leak into the underlying groundwater. There may be additionally little or no recognized concerning the underlying hydrogeology within the Kavango basin, which might 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 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 encompassing wildlife, which incorporates elephants, wild canine and martial eagle, the latter two are critically endangered.
Just lately deceased Wits scientist Bob Scholes, who served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change, known 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 impression report which is at present open for public remark in Namibia. This report has been challenged by 37 Anglican Bishops and Archbishops from around the globe 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.