INEWSBC | The ministry wishes to respond to the article titled “Oil Drillers threaten Okavango ecosystem” published in the Namibian newspaper for 16 September 2020. The newspaper report is deliberately creating the impression that there is are an oil and gas drilling operations alongside the Okavango Delta that is threatening the environmentally sensitive ecosystem.
The ministry wishes to clarify that the environment Clearance Certificate issued to Reconnaissance Energy Africa is for drilling of two stratigraphic wells for data gathering to understand the geology and confirm the existence of oil and gas for possible detailed oil and gas exploration and not for fracking as reported.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment approved by this Ministry, the exploration activities will not cover the entire license area and will be limited to areas situated about 80 km south of the Okavango River, 40 km from the boundary of the Khaudum national park, and is more than 260 km from the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The approved areas where to stratigraphic wells will be drilled are not located in any conservancy. The potential footprint for this activity will only occur in the area that is not bigger than 250 x 250 meters around each well. The actual size of the wells will be drilled is about 30 x30 centimeters. The area on which the approved to wells will be drilled is not on the banks of the river and is not located on an environmentally sensitive area as reported.
In an event oil or gas is discovered, a production license will have to be issued by the competent authority (Ministry of Mines and Energy) subject to meeting the requirements such as detailed EIA which will form the basis upon which the Environmentally Clearance Certificate will be issued.
The Ministry assures the public that the proponent fully complied with the provisions of the environmental management act no 7 of 2007 upon which environmental clearance was issued for the project to drill 2 stratigraphic wells.
Namibians are urged to reject this type of sensational reporting which is clearly driven by unknown motives. We assure our citizens that there is no need for an undue cause of alarm as this has no factual basis.
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