WINDHOEK: Mining Commissioner Immanuel Mulunga says Government will stop issuing oil and gas exploration licences towards the end of this year as there are no longer opportune areas left for exploration in the country.
Mulunga told Nampa in an interview on Friday that Government will close the open licensing system for reconnaissance of the exploration of oil and gas in the country, as most of the highly prospective blocks have already been awarded, while the remaining blocks are situated at extreme water depths.
The period will also be used to give existing exploration blocks an opportunity to mature.
He however indicated that although the system will be shut down, for the time-being, the country is expecting more major international oil companies to make their entry into Namibia using existing licences.
Mulunga said there are also a large number of new applications for areas of very low or void prospectivity.
Government adopted an Open Licensing System in 1999, welcoming interested companies to apply “in an easy and straightforward” manner for reconnaissance, exploration and production licences.
“We opened up the issuing of exploration of oil and gas licences because companies’ interest in coming to Namibia to explore oil and gas was poor, but now we are shutting down everything again because we have too many companies exploring the country’s coastal line in search for oil and gas,” the mining commissioner said, adding that Namibia has attracted a “critical mass” of international oil companies.
The government has so far issued 41 oil and gas exploration licences, with exploration activities being conducted in all of Namibia’s main sedimentary basins.