Bottom Line: It’s been a rough ride for Namibia explorers but this week explorers announced their first oil discovery, and while it’s not commercially viable, it could be the first indicator of the potential for Namibia to become another emerging African oil venue.
Analysis: Explorers in Namibia have seen their stocks plummet over disappointing drilling, but the discovery announced earlier this week by Brazil’s HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA and the Namibian government have boosted investor confidence in other finds of a commercially viable nature. According to HRT, the Wingat offshore exploration well in the Walvis Basin identified two well-developed source rocks within the oil-generating window and generating liquid hydrocarbons of excellent quality. HRT now plans to spud the second of its planned wells, Murombe, with drilling to commence before the end of May. The news is reverberating, with other explorers benefiting from the news. Chariot Oil & Gas (LON:CHAR) has seen its shares dive almost 90% due to disappointing exploration results in Namibia since its offshore drilling campaign began last year, but this week shares are up as investors take heart in HRT’s first oil discovery. The news will also boost the standing of London-based Polo Resources (LON:POL), which is 48% owned by Signet Petroleum. BP Plc and Repsol SA (REP) also have offshore stakes in Namibia.
Recommendation: We’re not there yet, but Namibia is a venue worth keeping your eye on. A total of 18 wells have been drilled in the past decade—all of them disappointing. However, there is analog geological data that suggests that Namibia’s coast could mirror Brazil and Angola, and new drilling technology could unleash the untapped potential here.