Exploration starts on new gas project
International energy company, African International Energy, says it has committed an exploration budget of US$10 million for its recently acquired blocks 2715 A and B where the company is exploring for natural gas.
The two blocks are located north east of the Kudu Gas field and are estimated to hold similar potential to that of Kudu. Company director, Aldworth Mbalati told the Economist on Thursday that the blocks have a very strong gas potential adding that it will be an added bonus if they find oil in their exploration activities.
“We are quiet positive (about the existence of gas). That is why we have committed the exploration capital because we believe in the market opportunity that is there.
“We believe that the gas field is as significant as Kudu and should it prove to be correct, we will put in at least 500Mw worth of power,” says Mbalati.
He says they have followed, with keen interest, developments surrounding the Kudu gas project which has helped them understand some of the key problems that have been plaguing the would-be developers of the gas field. As a result, the youthful director says, they have devised financing models that will allow AIE to avoid such problems.
AIE has already started work on an environment impact assessment and is also finalising plans to establish a local office in Windhoek. The office is set to open by 1 June.
The energy upstart company says it has a sufficient budget to develop the gas field should it prove to be commercially viable. The company, which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has plans to have a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange soon. Mbalati says such a move will give African International Energy greater presence in Africa while also allowing Africans to share on the success of an African company.
African International Energy is also looking at additional blocks to develop. We are also exploring other alternatives that will allow us to get into the market quicker than our current exploration programme,” Mbalato adds.
“As we ramp up over time, the benefits to the local Namibian economy will be significant. Highly skilled professionals such as geologists will be needed to participate in the project.
“Namibia is a stable economy with a great mix of fiscal and legislative frameworks. It has an abundance of natural resources and willingness to do business. AIE foresees a partnership with Namibia in helping it grow its natural gas industry and increase export earnings.”