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The Orange Basin – extending South Africa and Namibia – has emerged a highly lucrative offshore play owing to a string of high-profile oil and gas discoveries made by global energy majors and independents in recent years. Following exploratory success on the Namibian side of the basin between 2022 and 2024, players are turning to the South African waters. Ahead of the African Energy Week (AEW): Invest in African Energy conference this November, the African Energy Chamber spoke with Gil Holzman, CEO and President of Eco Atlantic about the company’s activities in the Orange Basin.

AEW: Invest in African Energy is the platform of choice for project operators, financiers, technology providers and government, and has emerged as the official place to sign deals in African energy. Visit www.AECWeek.com for more information about this exciting event.

Eco Atlantic – as non-operated partner – and TotalEnergies – as the newly designated operator – have initiated plans to start a drilling campaign on Block 3B/4B in the Orange Basin. What is the current status of exploration activities on the block?

We are excited to be working closely with the government of South Africa and our new partners, TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy, as we start preparations to drill exploration wells on the Block. Block 3B/4B is located in one of the most prolific and exciting hydrocarbon provinces in the world and we have attracted the two largest energy companies in the world who are already in the basin making giant discoveries.

Our ability to explore this block is strengthened by their understanding of the Orange Basin which lies in Namibian offshore waters and multiple multi-billion-barrel discoveries have been made to date – Venus, Graff and Mangetti to name but a few.

Does the company have plans to expand its presence even further in South Africa’s upstream sector?

At present, we continue to focus on developing Block 3B/4B in South Africa, as well as our assets in Guyana and Namibia, which make up our exciting and high-quality exploration asset portfolio stretching across the Atlantic Margins. We will, of course, always consider potentially value accretive opportunities as they arise, for the benefit of our investors.

Eco Atlantic holds four operational licenses in Namibia and is currently seeking farm-out opportunities. What makes investing in Namibia attractive and what is the company’s long-term vision for the market?

Namibia has witnessed some of the largest exploration discoveries in recent years, thanks to small explorers never giving up and better exploration technology allowing the industry to ‘see’ deeper and explore deeper waters and horizons. Namibia is an area that continues to yield excitement and interest, offers very attractive fiscal terms, and is developing supporting infrastructure. So, we expect that there will be much further activity over the course of the year which will support our farm out process.

How is Eco Atlantic leveraging key operational lessons from its activities in Guyana to optimize operations in Namibia, considering the company’s presence in both highly prolific regions?

Eco Atlantic is in a position of strength to learn from these two fantastic countries, both resource rich with adept governments working hard to collaborate with the industry to maximize the benefits of the resource sector.  Up until 2022, Namibia had no commercial oil and gas. Yet, with an established Ministry of Mines and Energy and a growing national oil company, they were ready for the oil to flow.  Guyana however, got the oil first! Both governments have a lot of lessons to share and learn from each other, Eco Atlantic helped to orchestrate a trip in September for both Natural Resources and Energy Ministers and their delegations to meet in Georgetown and had time for learning workshops. 

Given the similarities between operating in countries that hold prolific hydrocarbon basins, both Namibia and Guyana have recently delivered sizable discoveries. Namibia and Guyana are both areas that continue to attract widespread interest from global players and we will continue to use our knowledge, experience and relationships in the regions to deliver material value to our stakeholders.

The AEW: Invest in African Energy conference is scheduled from 4 to 8 November in Cape Town. How does Eco Atlantic anticipate leveraging this event to expand its presence in Africa?

AEW: Invest in African Energy provides Eco Atlantic with the opportunity to share insights and engage with a range of important stakeholder audiences. This great conference also helps us better understand sector trends and map out industry activity, and of course get together in-person with old friends and colleagues in the beautiful setting of Cape Town

How does the event provide independent oil and gas companies with the opportunity to promote their expertise in exploration and production?

Providing a platform for Eco Atlantic to engage with others in the sector is important as it is an opportunity for the company to present its investment case and build anticipation around important milestones. We look forward to seeing everyone in Cape Town on November 4th for a week of networking, education, and fun.

Keep following www.AECWeek.com for more high-level industry insights from the movers and shakers transforming the African energy sector.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

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