Namibia: new hotbed for oil and gas exploration?

nami hot 4The Aziza Project is launching a cryptocurrency to fund a oil-well digging programme in Namibia. (Image source: Dennis A. Amith/ Flickr)A pioneering cryptocurrency firm is calling on global investors to support an oil and gas project that could supply the energy needs of Namibia 25 times over

The Aziza Project has set itself a US$60mn target to fund a ten-well drilling programme in the Kalahari desert for its partner, Africa New Energies (ANE).

ANE holds the rights to the 22,000 km2 asset in Kalahari - roughly the size of Wales - and is using state-of-the-art technology to explore the basin at a tenth of the cost of traditional methods.

The concession has a mean net unrisked prospective resource of 1.6bn barrels of oil, which is estimated to satisfy Namibia's 3.77 TWh energy consumption and is sufficient to turn the country into an exporter of oil and gas.

The plan is that proceeds from the onshore Kalahari asset, which has had more than 700 oil and gas seeps, would be used to develop community solar projects via a hybrid gas-to-solar strategy. This would start the electrification of Namibia as well as surrounding countries.

To kick start the vision, the Aziza Project will be launching a cryptocurrency later this month and will be visiting the US as its first port of call to attract would-be investors.

CEO Robert Pyke said, "The heart of Aziza, a fundraising mechanism, is issuing crypto tokens where people can receive the economic benefits of owning 20 per cent of ANE. Our cryptocurrency token is an investment, which is akin to buying a share in a company. Therefore, we need to be compliant with security and regulation where our issuers and potential investors are based. We are definitely a pioneer and the next six months are going to be really critical for us. We will be in Boston in the next couple of weeks where there will be a token event for investors. In an ideal scenario, we hope our fundraising activities will be completed by Christmas."

Once the Aziza Project has raised the necessary funds, ANE will be ready to start the drilling programme.

"ANE has gathered nine out of 17 layers of data, which has identified 32 anomalies that are likely to be caused by hydrocarbons. Seven of which are regarded as high quality. They know where they want to go and the process of drilling itself will give them a wealth of additional information."

Pyke added, "Trying to embrace leading edge technology to raise finance to support a project like this, is very exciting. The reason why we are doing it, instead of through conventional fundraising, is that it will be substantially cheaper and will save money both for the organisation raising the cash and the investor in the end. It is a very compelling investment opportunity."

“Things are rather dynamic at ANE at the moment,” said Stephen Larkin, CEO of ANE. “We are going full steam ahead in expanding our acreage. We're looking to acquire additional blocks in Namibia, expanding our acreage in South Africa, and are seeking to expand into Botswana. We are also currently preparing the pre-drilling environmental impact assessment for Namibia as we accelerate towards spudding that first well."

The common theory is that Namibia's offshore basins are likely to be similar to two oil rich Brazilian basins - the Santos and Campos - when the southern African country was once slotted together with Brazil some thousand of millions of years ago.

To date, however there still has not been any commercially-viable oil find.

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