Due to some inaccurate interpretations disseminated in national and international media and also on social media about the work to be carried out in the Angolan interior basins, particularly in the Etosha/Okavango Basin, the Angolan Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels, clarifies the following:
1. In compliance with the guidelines established by the Angolan Government in the National Development Plan 2018-2022, for the oil sector, and in compliance with Presidential Decree No. 282/20 of 27 October, which approves Angola’s Hydrocarbon Exploration Strategy 2020-2025, the Angolan Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels is promoting several public tenders for the assessment of the oil potential of several onshore interior basins.
2. The inner basins of Kassanje, which are located in the Angolan provinces of Malange and Uige, and that of Etosha/Okavango, located in the provinces of Cunene, Cuando Cubango and Moxico – in a total area of about 520,000 km2 – are sedimentary basins, in which there is a strong probability of occurrence of crude oil and natural gas. Of the total existing area, only 20 per cent is located in protected areas, which means that it is incorrect and inappropriate to assume that all of the interior basins referenced for the assessment of their oil potential are protected environmental conservation areas.
3. Studies in these basins started in 2010 with an aero gravimetric survey that allowed the definition of their limits and the depth of sediments, an important aspect to assess the possibility of hydrocarbon generation (crude oil and natural gas).
4. At the end of this first phase, it was considered important to move on to a second phase which should start with environmental impact, restoration and repopulation studies to prevent against possible situations that may cause any damage to the environment, although this is not expected, as the sampling will be done on the surface.
5. Accessibility studies will also be carried out for these sedimentary basins to allow teams to move around the terrain and ascertain the geographical situation of the area, through topographic surveys and the acquisition of satellite images, which will detail the occupation of space.
6. The final purpose of the fieldwork will be to collect samples of crude oil and natural gas on the surface, which has been reported by the population, as well as to obtain samples of rocks that will be sent for laboratory analysis. The final result of the laboratory analysis will be integrated into the maps generated in the first phase, allowing a perspective of the level of prospective of the different areas of the basins under analysis.
7. All this activity will prioritize areas outside the environmental protection zones, and work in protected areas will start as soon as it is legally possible. This work will be carried out in coordination with the ministerial department responsible for the environment, which must approve the environmental impact study and coordinate the public consultation.
8. The decision to bid or not to bid in the protected areas of these basins, which are less than 20 per cent of total area, will be based on the results of the environmental pre-feasibility study, to be carried out by an independent entity in coordination with the ministerial department responsible for the environment.
9. Based on the principle that each State has the right to know the existing resources in its territory, it is essential to carry out these studies before taking the decision of awarding its exploration by specialized and reputable investors in the sector.
10. It should be noted that countries in the region, such as Zambia, Namibia and Botswana, have already gone through the same process, which thereafter they carried out the respective bidding processes with safety and respect to the environment.