Judgment Issued by Namibian Court: ReconAfrica will Continue Oil and Gas Exploration

A recent judgment issued by the High Court of Namibia has enabled ReconAfrica and NAMCOR to continue exploring Namibia’s frontier oil and gas basins
Judgment Issued by Namibian Court: ReconAfrica will Continue Oil and Gas Exploration (Image Source: Adobe.com)
The High Court of Namibia has issued a judgment that allows Canadian oil and gas company, Reconnaissance Africa (ReconAfrica), along with its joint venture partner, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR), to continue with its oil and gas exploration campaign in Namibia. Represented by Namibian-based law firm, SNC Incorporated, the judgment will see ReconAfrica continue exploring petroleum exploration license number 73 (PEL 73), a key frontier prospect in the high potential northeastern region of Namibia. Last month, a group of environmental organizations lodged a case against the ReconAfrica joint venture – Reconnaissance Energy Namibia (REN) – along with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Environmental Commissioner, the Commissioner for Petroleum Affairs and the Attorney General for the Republic of Namibia, seeking an order from the court for an Interim Interdict to restrain REN from continuing with exploration activities, despite such activities having been authorized by the Environmental Clearance Certificate Amendments issued by the Environmental Commissioner. SNC Incorporated raised preliminary points including that the matter was not urgent to be heard on an urgent basis; the applicants lacked the legal standing to bring the matter before court; and that the court had no powers to grant the relief sought by the applicants. On July 29, Justice Thomas Masuku delivered the judgment, upholding SNC Incorporated’s preliminary points.“This was a big win for our client ReconAfrica and its joint-venture partner NAMCOR because it enables them to continue with the ongoing drilling program for well 8-2 and other oil and gas exploration activities for PEL 73. The positive court outcome for our client bears witness to SNC Incorporated’s ability to advise and represent international energy and mining companies undertaking projects in Namibia and the rest of Africa,” stated Shakwa Nyambe, Managing Partner of SNC IncorporatedAs the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) commends the judgment issued by the High Court of Namibia, recognizing the decision as key for making energy poverty history by 2030 in Africa. As one of the final frontiers for oil and gas exploration globally, Namibia’s hydrocarbon reserves have a critical role to play in improving electrification, revenue generation, industrialization and overall socioeconomic growth in Africa. With the judgment, Namibia has ensured that its population, and that of the entire continent, will benefit from their natural resources and a new era of investment and development is unlocked.“Environmentalists successfully blocked a key offshore seismic program in South Africa this year, preventing the country from addressing its energy crisis and lifting people out of poverty. The AEC is glad to see that the Namibian courts are not taking the same path, but rather, they are committed to making energy poverty history in Africa. What is even better is that an African law firm is taking the lead in this,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that, “We have seen western organizations using Africans to try and block our development. The judgment issued by the High Court of Namibia reaffirms the continent’s commitment to oil and gas.”At a time when environmental organizations, predominantly western organizations, are attacking oil and gas developments across Africa, the judgment reaffirms the continent’s commitment to developing both the energy sector and overall economy in Africa. In South Africa, environmentalists won a court case against energy major Shell, preventing the company from conducting seismic surveys offshore South Africa. In east Africa, western entities are targeting the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, preventing intra-African oil trade and leaving millions of people in energy poverty in east Africa. In Mozambique, Friends of the Earth are attempting to prevent the United Kingdom from financing upcoming large-scale natural gas projects. Such attacks by environmentalists will not only delay and deter oil and gas developments from taking place, but will directly restrict socioeconomic growth, preventing the continent from making energy poverty history by 2030.As the continent’s premier event for the oil and gas sector fast approaches – African Energy Week (AEW), taking place from October 18-21, 2022 – it has become even more critical for exploration campaigns as well as mid- and downstream developments to progress. Under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030, AEW 2022 is committed to unlocking new investment and driving development across the entire energy value chain, including oil and gas. With the High Court of Namibia’s judgment, progress is guaranteed in Namibia, and other countries across the continent should follow suit.*Source African Energy Week (AEW)

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