Namibia has Four (4) offshore and Four (4) onshore sedimentary basins Basin.


Offshore Basins;

  • Namibe Basin
  • Walvis Basin
  • Luderitz Basin
  • Orange Basin


Onshore Basins;

  • Owambo Basin
  • Waterberg Basin (Including Huab Sub-Basin)
  • Nama Basin (Including Aranos Sub-Basin)
  • Warmbad Basin


The 1st Phase or First Licensing round opened in 1969 with 8 blocks being awarded, then 2nd licensing round opened in 1972 with 9 blocks being awarded. The Kudu Gas discovery (Kudu 9A-1) was drilled during this time by Chevron, Regent and SOEKOR in the Orange Basin. With the UN sanctions from later 1970’s no further exploration for hydrocarbons was done by international operators. During that time, all drilling rights were then transferred to SWAKOR (nascent national oil company). However, 1987-1988 the 2nd Phase of exploration began with SWAKOR, the predecessor company of the present National Oil Company, NAMCOR, in collaboration with Halliburton, acquired 10,600km 2D seismic offshore Namibia and a further 3,770 km over Kudu and drilling Kudu 9A-2 and Kudu 9A-3. The Kudu 2 well was not tested but Kudu 9A-3 proved dry gas discovery in Lower Cretaceous sands.


Post 1990 the First (1st) Licensing round was held with Five (5) licenses being awarded (Norsk Hydro, Ranger, Sasol, Chevron and Shell). Subsequently, in 1995 the Second Licensing round was held resulted in two 92) new licenses being awarded to Shell with an extension to the existing license that Shell had over the Kudu field. During this period, over 28, 000km of 2D seismic was acquired in the respective licenses, as well as 60, 000km of multi-client data.


The Third (3rd) Licensing Round in 1998-1999 resulted in no applications being received, due to low oil price and the numerous international company mergers that were ongoing. The exploration period between 1991 and 1998 saw nine exploratory wells drilled and located mostly on the shelf. Although unsuccessful, these wells proved both clastic and carbonate potential reservoirs of mostly Cretaceous age and at least two rich oil prone rocks within Aptian and Cenomanian/Turonian interval. The mini-4th Licensing Round in 2004 eventually resulted in the award of two blocks to BHP-Billiton to the west and south of the Kudu Gas Field.


With an open licensing system adopted in 1999, Namibia experienced an influx in exploration activities from 2008 to date especially acquisition of 2D and 3D seismic surveys as more companies showed interest in the hydrocarbon potential of the Western margin. Within this period six (6) exploratory wells were drilled by various operators Sintezneftgaz drilled Kunene-1 well in 2008, Chariot drilled Tapir South-1 and Kabeljou-1 in 2012 , HRT drilled Wingat-1Murombe-1 and Moosehead-1 wells in 2013 and Repsol drilled Welwitschia-1 well in 2014. The recent drilled well results confirmed the presence of Lower Cretaceous rich source rocks, clastic and carbonate reservoirs and also proved an oil-based working petroleum system with two thick, rich mature source rocks within the Aptian Interval. In 2018, two (2) wells were drilled in the Walvis Basin by Tullow Namibia (Cormorant-1) which targeted Albian Fan sandstones and found to be water-bearing with Wet gas signatures, indicative of oil, were encountered in the overlying shale section, and Chariot Oil and Gas (Prospect S) penetrated the targeted turbidite reservoir sands, however the reservoirs were found to be water-bearing.


To date, 24 wells (Exploration and Appraisal) drilled offshore Namibia with over 50 Petroleum Exploration Licenses been awarded by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.



Figure 1: 1st licensing round map offshore Namibia