African Energy Week 2021 spoke to Mwanyengwa Ndapewoshali Shapwanale, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, ReconAfrica, on the company’s current success and future plans for Namibia’s prospective Kavango basin.
African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 will host industry leaders, delegations, and key stakeholders from across the African and global energy sector. Ahead of Africa’s premier energy event taking place on the 9th-12th of November. AEW 2021 spoke with Mwanyengwa Ndapewoshali Shapwanale, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, ReconAfrica, about the company’s exploratory success in Namibia.
ReconAFRICA has made significant progress in Namibia. How has the company managed to achieve exploratory success in such a short space of time?
As a junior oil and gas company currently engaging in oil and gas exploration, we are extremely pleased with the progress we have made to this point. We have, so far, drilled two stratigraphic wells and completed the first ever two-dimensional seismic acquisition programme of the Kavango Petroleum Basin. There are different aspects and components that have and continue to contribute to the success of our oil and gas exploration projects. Firstly, Namibia has a really attractive fiscal regime that makes any investor want to do business. The country has among the best environmental and petroleum laws and the activities in this industry are very well regulated. We at ReconAFRICA can humbly and with utmost gratitude say that we have and continue to enjoy immense support from the national, regional, and local government; the office of the regional governors; the Traditional Authorities and very importantly, the direct communities in our project area. I believe our success to date is the partnering relationship we have built with these key stakeholders.
How is the company working with the Namibian government to drive exploration and development?
ReconAfrica is exploring the country at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Namibia. We have a fantastic working relationship with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which is the leading ministry for all petroleum activities in the country. It is imperative for us to continuously keep the government up-to-date and informed with the operations and our findings. We are also partners with the country’s national oil company (NAMCOR), in our petroleum license, and have a series of regulatory inspections and visits by line ministries including the Ministry of Mines and Energy; the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism; and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform.
ReconAfrica is currently exploring the hydrocarbon potential of the Kavango Basin in Namibia and Botswana. Does the company have plans to expand into other African markets?
As an Oil and Gas company we understand the regional geology of our area of interest and constantly work to improve it. At this time, we are focused on Namibia and Botswana.
Please provide insight into ReconAfrica’s Environment Social and Governance (ESG) framework.
Our ESG criteria provides a basis for measuring our performance against the global standards that we have committed to. We consider it a privilege to work with our community partners and we take ESG standards seriously. With respect to our environmental criteria, we strive to partner with others and to be a steward of the natural environment in the areas where we work. Our social criteria help us to assess the fairness, transparency, and effectiveness of our interactions with communities, stakeholders and partners including our suppliers and contractors. Our governance criteria allow us to monitor progress and improve on our goal of equitable decision-making and to determine the effectiveness of our internal controls in meeting our commitments to stakeholders and shareholders and our obligations to regulators.
In line with our ESG criteria, ReconAFRICA has to date committed N$112 million towards developmental initiatives in the two Kavango regions. The Company has responded to the great water need in the area of operation by drilling and installing 14 community water wells valued at N$500 000 each, and we are planning to drill more.
What measures are being implemented to achieve a net zero carbon future?
ReconAfrica’s ESG program is guided, in part, by Namibia’s sustainable development initiatives, which include Vision 2030; Harambee Prosperity Plans 1&2; and the National Development Plan. Additionally, the company is aligning its objectives with UN Sustainable Development and Net Zero goals and has established a carbon neutral strategy, under which we have initiated analysis of greenhouse gas technology containment approaches, and reforestation of not only our operations area but for the broader area.
ReconAfrica will host a Women in Leadership brunch at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town. How will this event serve to enhance the participation of women in Africa’s energy sector?
Campaigns for the inclusion of women in leadership positions is not something unique to the energy sector alone. Maybe not as much now, but only a few years ago, there were still certain industries where leadership positions were considered for men only. It is important to celebrate wins. Women have had to come a very long way in seeking seats at the table, from women’s suffrage to many other pushes to recognize that women are capable to also occupy the spaces, traditionally considered male-dominated.
The event is not only celebrating women’s participation in the modern-day energy sector, but to engage on how we can continue to enhance the participation of women in the energy sector. The panel consists of some of the most celebrated women in leadership in the energy sector and this event is the most opportune to hear and take lessons from each phenomenal participating woman.
AEW 2021, in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy DMRE, is the AEC’s annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2021 unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments.
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