Namibian oil find – the emperor’s new clothes syndrome

03 Jun 2013 05:57

Knowledge Katti is angry with the local media for being skeptical over the news of oil find off the coast of Nmibia.
Katti vented his anger on twitter and Facebook last week castigating sections of the media which questioned the oil find.
Fair and fine but Katti should understand where the media  comes from regarding early celebrations of this strike of a rich oil vein because HRT, the company he has partnered with, is not the first company to drill wells and find some oil of no commercial value in Namibia.
The difference here is that none of the companies rushed to State House after gathering ministers and even Prime Minister Hage Geingob, to display the finding and then dampen it all by the ‘of no commercial value’ disclaimer.
So far, 14 wells have been dug off the coast of Namibia, in Owambo and Nama basins but no oil was spud.
The exploration has covered more than 500 000 square kilometers. The only confirmed finding is that of gas in what is now known as the Kudu Gas Field where four of the exploration wells were dug.
Whatever oil was found, if at all, was declared of ‘no commercial value’. This is why the media appeared to be ‘ungrateful’ and ‘unappreciative’ with the latest news of the oil finding in Namibia.
That also makes Katti/HRT’s early celebration a non-event because if at all, it changes nothing since, according to their own submission, whatever was spud, will not bring in jobs, boost the fiscus and halve Namibia’s problems.
Last year in February, EnerGulf Resources who owns Block 1711 said they had found an estimated 3.16 billion barrels of potentially recoverable oil off the Namibian coast.
Another company, last year the US-based Duma Energy Corporation also said they had found some crude oil in the vicinity of Etosha from Petroleum 5-1A well in the Owambo Basin.
Chariot Oil that owns Northern Block 1811A off the coast of Namibia has so far dug two wells which never yielded any oil.
Coincidentally, just like HRT, Chariot Oil’s share price took a hard knock after announcing that they had found ‘no commercial hydrocarbons’ in the Tapir South exploration well.
The company had earlier announced that the Tapir South well had 25% chance of yielding oil estimated to be about 604 million barrels. Well, after burrowing deeper into the earth for about 4 879 metres, Chariot Oil emerged saying there was nothing worth talking about.
Just like HRT, Chariot Oil are not giving up and Government has extended its licence with a year for Blocks 2312 A & B and Northern halves of 2412 A & B.
The company is also putting all its hopes on the information they got from the dry well in their future quest for striking a rich oil vein.
BP Plc too swam into the oil basin early last year after snapping up a huge chunk of shares in the Nimrod Prospect in the Southern Block 2714 in the Orange Basin 77 km off the Namibian coast.
At the time, BP said the Nimrod Prospect could be the third biggest oil discoveries for the year but it’s not clear whether they are yet to spud some oil.
It is after considering all these facts that the media arrived at the conclusion that what is being celebrated as some great milestone; huge achievement and painted as bright prospects could, in actual fact, be just the Emperor’s New Suit Syndrome.
The Emperor’s New Suit Syndrome derives from the fable where two con-artists promised a foolish emperor that they would want to sew for him one of the most amazing suits ever.
But their one condition was that any one of his ministers who did not see the suit was stupid or foolish and so was unfit to hold high office. Struck with fear, the whole empire – even the Emperor himself – could not see the suit but still everybody pretended to see it.
When the emperor was paraded, all the people in the street said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!”
It took the eyes of a child to say: “But he doesn’t have anything on!” And then everyone finally said: “But he doesn’t have anything on!”
Even the emperor himself was aware of it but it was too late for him to do anything. Of course, he was embarrassed.
Any news of an oil find in Namibia is greatly welcome but let it be news about a real find not one that is meant to mislead people into believing that at last the country has arrived.