Groundwater threatened by drilling

Oil extraction in the Kavango ‘virtually impossible’ without fracking

19 January 2021 | Disasters

Windhoek • Frank Steffen

In 2011, a hydrological study dating back to 2001 was republished. Together with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR in Hanover, Germany), the then Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development as well as the Ministry of Mining and Energy compiled the study "Groundwater in Namibia", which was intended as supplementary explanation for the Namibian hydrology map.
Greg Christelis and Wilhelm Struckmeier are listed as editors and personalities such as Frank Bockmühl, Piet Heyns, Gabi Schneider, John Mendelsohn and Sindila Mwiya are listed alongside many other specialists.
In the study, all water-bearing basins and wells in Namibia were analysed: Which regional geological composition influences the well, where the water comes from, how quickly it runs and what risks these basins are exposed to – in particular on account of the resource being utilized by way of drilled boreholes.
The Okavango-Epukiro Basin, which extends from the northern border of Namibia over the entire Okavango region (from the Angolan border in the north and the Botswana border in the east) to the level of the karst valley not far from Grootfontein, on to Otjiwarongo and down to just before Gobabis, is also mentioned. This is part of the prehistoric Permian Basin, which the company Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) describes as “another world-class Permian basin, analogous to the Texan sedimentary basin”.
In the BGR study, the basin is described in two parts: The Kavango region consisting of layers of unconsolidated deposits that house a porous aquifer (aquifer comprising loose or solid rock, whose pore space is traversed by groundwater), while the Omaheke region (Epukiro) rests on a fractured aquifer.
According to the report, the bedrock consists mainly of sedimentary and quartz rocks as well as marble, mica schist and amphibolite. Because of its permeable layers, it is relatively easy to drill for water, but there is also the danger of water pollution, especially as all of the water in the basin is interconnected.

Open discussions
Meanwhile, the company Risk-Based Solutions cc (RBS is a self-proclaimed technical specialist for oil, gas, mineral and energy exploration) has invited the public to three meetings and open discussions, as ReconAfrica intends to submit an application for an environmental impact certificate.
The meetings will be held at:
• Nkurenkuru on 20 January;
• Rundu on 22 January; and
• Ncamagoro, Gcuru, Ncuncuni, Ncaute and elsewhere from 23 to 25 January.
RBS is led by Dr Sindila Mwiya, who in his capacity as project advisor to ReconAfrica, assured farmers at the end of 2020 that “only two wells would be drilled as part of an exploration obligation”. Coincidentally, he is one of the experts who previously had spoken out in favour of the conservation of groundwater in the BGR study (refer list of specialists above).

‘Unconventional exploitation’
ReconAfrica continues to claim that no fracking is planned. However, it repeatedly cites the report by the American specialist consultancy Wood Mackenzie: “Kavango Basin Review & Global Benchmarking – ReconAfrica”, a report that confirms that the Kavango Basin is a Permian basin that can be likened to the Midlands Sedimentary Basin in Texas.
The comparison is interesting because Wood Mackenzie notes the following with reference to the Midland Basin (focus on the occurrence of the so-called Wolfcamp): “The Midland Basin production has had a dual-peak in production, firstly fuelled by conventional plays, and more recently unconventional exploitation.”
In technical jargon, fracking is considered to be “unconventional exploitation”.
The report further states: “The Midland Basin started production in the 1930s. Early production was conventional and peaked in the 1970s, at which time total Texan production comprised around 7% of production globally. Production declined through to the mid 2000’s until the unconventional revolution and the exploitation of the Wolfcamp and Spraberry plays.”
Based on that direct comparison it would seem that ReconAfrica’s vision of producing “billions of barrels” is only realistically achievable and feasible if it uses fracking over the long term, similar to the Midland Basin.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the process of tearing up rock in a deposit deep underground with the aim of increasing the permeability – an application that is typical of a geological condition as described in the hydrology report.
According to the forum “Environment America”, based on industry and state data, at least 137 000 fracking wells have been drilled or approved in more than 20 states since 2005.”

Similar News


Fire safety measures every homeowner should implement

1 day - 11 May 2021 | Disasters

The recent blaze that unfolded along the Cape’s iconic Table Mountain was a reminder of the very real threat fire poses to homeowners. It is...

Fire destroys Windhoek joinery

1 month - 29 March 2021 | Disasters

The Strödike joinery in Windhoek in Prosperita burned down to the ground over the weekend.The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, with...

Flooding worries continue

3 months ago - 16 January 2021 | Disasters

The Windhoek municipality on Friday evening gave a brief update on the flooding experienced in the capital.According to the City, the average rainfall from 30...

Residents relocated to avoid flooding

3 months ago - 15 January 2021 | Disasters

More than 200 residents of informal settlement in Windhoek were relocated to avoid their shacks being flooded.Speaking to Nampa, some residents said the decision was...

Flood damage at popular NWR spa

3 months ago - 12 January 2021 | Disasters

Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ (NWR) /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs and Spa experienced heavy rains and flash floods on 5 January, resulting in the rivers along the resort...

Ozombouvapa dam dries up

6 months ago - 15 October 2020 | Disasters

Livestock farmers using the Ozombouvapa dam in the Epukiro constituency in the Omaheke region are called upon to be cautious after the dam dried up.The...

Dís hoe vinnig brande versprei

7 months ago - 09 October 2020 | Disasters

Twintig plakkershutte word binne vyf minute vernietig.Dit is hoe vinnig brande in informele nedersettings kan versprei. Hierdie is een van die belangrikste resultate van...

Tents and more for Twaloloka

9 months ago - 29 July 2020 | Disasters

Namibia Breweries Limited today handed over a donation of 450 tents to the value of N$1 103 549 to the Walvis Bay Town Council and...

CoW warns against veld fires

9 months ago - 13 July 2020 | Disasters

Unlike many other hazards, most veld fires are caused by people and can be prevented by people too.This year the vegetation growth presents a lot...

Food hampers for tourism employees in Zambezi

10 months ago - 29 June 2020 | Disasters

The Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) and Accor’s ALL Heartist Fund have assisted 225 of the Mantis Collection’s team members and their families working in...

Latest News

Chill with Windhoek Express

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Recurring events• 07:00 Bio-Markt / Green Market at the Stephanus Church (Dr Kenneth Kaunda Street) in Windhoek until 12:00.• 08:30 The weekly Inspire Market features...

Government in catch 22 on...

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Local News

While acknowledging that the majority of Namibians rely on the national broadcaster for information, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila conceded that government cannot meet its employees’...

Murorua takes over BAN reigns

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Banking

The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) announced that Nedbank chief executive Martha Murorua has taken over the reigns as chair from Ester Kali, CEO of...

Bowling on a roll

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Sports

Namibia Bowling Association (NBA) president Michael Wells has expressed his pleasure at the improved performance of players at the recently held Namibia National Bowling Championships.The...

Virtual international training for local...

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Sports

Eight Namibian soccer coaches will take part in an international instructor’s course organised by the German Football Federation and Botswana Football Association to help improve...

Old Mutual under ‘10 strongest...

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Business

The 2021 Brand Finance report has ranked Old Mutual in the top 10 strongest brands, as well as in the top 100 most valuable insurance...

Fire safety measures every homeowner...

1 day - 11 May 2021 | Disasters

The recent blaze that unfolded along the Cape’s iconic Table Mountain was a reminder of the very real threat fire poses to homeowners. It is...

Conservancy feeds their own children

1 day - 11 May 2021 | Society

For a second consecutive year, members of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy are using part of their income to provide food to all registered schools and...

More support of Nam’s sustainable...

1 day - 11 May 2021 | Infrastructure

Namibia’s finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi and German ambassador Herbert Beck signed an agreement on financial cooperation for loans between the two countries earlier this week.The...

Load More