An Executive Interview with Scot Evans, CEO, ReconAfrica
Published 18th November 2021
by Scot Evans, ReconAfrica, and Jack Ingram, Energy Council
Thank you for joining us for this interview – firstly can you tell the Energy Council network a little bit about ReconAfrica?
ReconAfrica is a Canadian oil and natural gas exploration company with rights to 8.5 million acres – comprising the entire recently discovered Kavango Basin – in NE Namibia and NW Botswana. The company is well capitalised with a fully funded exploration program for 2022, which will include a multi-well drilling program and the acquisition of additional 2D seismic. ReconAfrica owns its own drilling rig, the Jarvie-1, which it acquired and moved to Namibia in 2020.
ReconAfrica is exploring the Kavango basin in Namibia and Botswana at the invitation of the respective national governments. In Namibia, ReconAfrica has a joint operating agreement with the state-owned oil-and-gas company, NAMCOR. We are committed to continuing to work closely with, and under the direct oversight of, the governments in both countries, as well as their regional and traditional authorities, to ensure we continue to comply with relevant laws and regulations throughout all the stages of our operation, including addressing environmental and social concerns.
It has been a busy year for the organisation – the ReconAfrica story is clearly an exciting and progressive one, what have been your highlights and what are you excited about as we move into 2022?
In 2021, using its own drilling rig, ReconAfrica drilled two stratigraphic test wells in Namibia, with both wells confirming the presence of a working petroleum system and conventional reservoirs. Both wells encountered multiple reservoirs over clastic and carbonate intervals, with evidence of migrated light oil and natural gas. Following the success of the first two wells, the company undertook a 450km 2D seismic acquisition and processing program. The results are currently being interpreted, with initial analysis providing good seismic quality, and multiple structural and stratigraphic traps.
Following the completion of the seismic interpretation, ReconAfrica intends to start a multi-well drilling campaign in Q1 2022, and shoot additional 2D seismic. The company looks also to initiate a farm out joint venture process. The farm out process is expected to bring in a few select partners who can work with ReconAfrica to further explore and develop the Kavango Basin.
In terms of Oil & Gas discoveries the Kavango basin is an exciting basin – walk us through ReconAfrica’s approach/strategy here…
ReconAfrica acquired its licence in Namibia in 2015 after purchasing and analysing a tight grid aero magnetic survey that was flown by the government of Namibia but never purchased by a third party and interpreted. The results highlighted a sedimentary basin with depths of up to 35,000 feet – characteristics which are consistent with many other prolific commercial hydrocarbon basins worldwide. The company performed aeromag interpretation, regional analysis and environmental impact assessment from 2015 through to 2020. Given the lack of well data onshore Namibia the company strategy was to drill stratigraphic test wells to begin the exploration program, based on the aero-magnetic, gravity, and regional geologic data, to establish if the potential for oil and gas existed in the basin.
This is a common strategy for new onshore basins, where drilling costs are relatively low and seismic acquisition more challenging than offshore. The company subsequently bought a conventional drilling rig, shipped it to Namibia, drilled two wells and has now shot 450km of 2D seismic to define conventional traps targeted for future drilling activity in 2022 and beyond.
There is a lot of debate around achieving a balanced Africa-centric energy transition, ReconAfrica places a key emphasis on CSR/ESG – how do you see the transition progressing in light of obstacles presented in Africa, that other continents do not face?
We understand that to maintain a social licence to operate having a world class CSR and ESG program is critical. We have committed $10 million CAD to fund ESG projects in our areas of operations, something we do not believe has ever been done by an exploration stage company before. Our projects target four key areas of focus: 1) local employment; 2) education, health and wellness; 3) wildlife conservation and 4) access to fresh water. So far we have employed over 350 Namibians, donated $1.35 million CAD for COVID relief efforts, set up a wildlife monitoring system and drilled and put onstream 16 of a planned 22 solar powered community water wells. We are working in Namibia and Botswana at the invitation of the national governments, who continue to highlight the need for their countries to have sufficient access to reliable and affordable energy sources to lift their nations socially and economically, and end energy poverty. As noted, we have encountered oil and natural gas as part of our first two wells, and we will use natural gas produced for power generation given that we operate near cross-country power transmission lines.
As part of its ESG goals and to support Namibia’s net-zero emissions targets, ReconAfrica is developing plans to achieve carbon neutrality. While still at the exploration stage, with a limited emissions profile, the company is prepared to set aggressive targets of its own. Future goals are also likely to be shaped by carbon-reduction commitments established by various levels of governments in its operating regions.
The Energy Council and ReconAfrica are partnering around this year’s World Energy Capital Assembly and Africa Energy Capital Assembly – what are you looking forward to about the shows and what message would you like to impart with the Energy Council network?
We are excited to be partnering with the Energy Council as part of these world class events. It will be inspiring to meet people again in a face to face setting – remote events are useful and necessary, but nothing beats in person interactions. ReconAfrica is looking forward to greater exposure with industry participants including potential joint venture partners, industry partners, and potential investors as we move into what we trust will be an even more successful 2022 following our incredible success in 2021.
We are one small company with the rights to 8.5 million acres – including the entire Kavango Basin – in the stable jurisdictions of Namibia and Botswana. We understand and are fully committed to our ESG obligations, and we look to be one of the most sustainable and progressive oil and natural gas companies globally as we continue to develop our very exciting project.
ReconAfrica will have speakers featuring on ‘What does the future of E&P in Africa really look like?' at the World Energy Capital Assembly and ‘Exploration Opportunities In Africa: Where Are The Most Exciting Regional Hotspots, Drilling Activities & High-Potential Oil & Gas Discoveries?' at the Africa Energy Capital Assembly this November.
ReconAfrica is a Canadian oil and gas company engaged in the opening of the newly discovered deep Kavango Sedimentary Basin, in the Kalahari Desert of northeastern Namibia and northwestern Botswana, where ReconAfrica holds petroleum licenses comprising approximately 8.5 million contiguous acres.
ReconAfrica holds a 90% interest in a petroleum exploration licence in NE Namibia and a 100% interest in petroleum exploration rights in NW Botswana over the entire Kavango Sedimentary Basin. The exploration licences cover an area of 25,341.33 km2 (6.3 million acres) in Namibia and 8,990 km2 (2.2 million acres) in Botswana. Based on commercial success, ReconAfrica is entitled to 25-year production licences over any commercial discovery.