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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Nabirm: The Redefined Epicenter of the Walvis Basin Oil Exploration

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

 By Donald V. Watkins ©Copyrighted and Published on December 5, 2018

A breakthrough of epic proportions occurred in September 2018 for Birmingham, Alabama-based Nabirm Global, LLC, and its Namibian affiliate, Nabirm Energy Services (Pty) Ltd. Nabirm, which engages in oil and gas exploration offshore in Windhoek, Namibia, Southwest Africa, learned that its offshore oil block is located in the epicenter of an oil basin that contains billions of barrels of oil.

Nabirm’s Namibian headquarters is adjacent to Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE: RDSA, RDSB) and in the same building as UK-based Chariot Oil & Gas Limited (CHAR: LSE) in Windhoek. Nabirm’s offshore oil block asset is adjacent to Tullow Oil PLC’s (TLW: LSE), Galp Energia’s (SGPS, S.A.), and Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (NYSE: XOM) blocks.

Nabirm is the only privately owned company that is engaged in oil and gas exploration in the Walvis Basin in the same precincts as these publicly listed international oil companies. Nabirm’s shareholders have self-funded all of its exploration activities since the company was founded in August 2011. 

Independent Resource Estimate Overview

Independent consulting firm DeGolyer and MacNaughton (“D&M”) carried out an assessment of the oil and gas potential of the PEL 37 area adjacent to Nabirm’s block. D&M provided estimates for eleven oil leads in the PEL 37 license area of total prospective resources of 8.7 billion barrels of oil – (these volumes were not adjusted for geologic and/or economic risk). D&M is recognized as the leader in resource estimation for the petroleum industry and has extensive international experience with a diverse range of clients in a diverse range of regions, including onshore and offshore East and West Africa.

D&M prepared the assessment of license area EL 0037 offshore Namibia in accordance with the Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS) approved by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the World Petroleum Council, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers.

Deemed the Most Prospective Offshore Area for Oil Exploration

In a paradigm-shifting development at a September 2018 public oil and gas symposium in Namibia, two renowned German geoscientists, Drs. Martin Neumaier and Ansgar Wanke, concluded that the predicted present day early Aptian source rock maturity model (Bray, et al, 1998) appears to be outdated and incorrect.

Neumaier and Wanke suggested that source rock maturity in the Walvis Basin is located to the east in shallower offshore precincts closer to the shore.  As part of the thread of geological evidence to support their findings, they stated that the “over burden,” which is east of oil prospects drilled in 2018, supports the theory of migration of hydrocarbons (oil) to the east especially if the sands stringers are continuous.

ExxonMobil, Nabirm and Eco Oil operate the blocks that presently fall within this newly defined, highly prospective, epicenter for oil exploration. 

Dr. Neumaier, a geologist and honorary Lecturer in the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial College London, is an expert in PetroMod and Petrel Geoscience workflows. Dr. Wanke is a geologist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geology at the University of Namibia. He is an expert in Sedimentology and Seismic Stratigraphy. Both geoscientists have heavy experience in oil and gas exploration, engineering, and hydrogeology.

Positioned for Success

In July 2012, the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy awarded Nabirm a twelve-year exploration license (PEL 0058) for Oil Block 2113A, which is located offshore in the Walvis Basin. The license for Oil Block 2113A has been renewed two times, with the latest renewal occurring on September 26, 2018.

China-based BGP International, Inc., one of the world’s leading geophysical service companies, completed a successful 2D seismic acquisition campaign on Oil Block 2113A in 2015. U.S.-based Parallel Geoscience Corporation processed the acquired data.

Singapore-based Remus Consulting prepared a preliminary interpretation of the 2D seismic data and identified five Leads of oil within Block 2113A. Houston, Texas-based ION Geophysics reprocessed and reinterpreted the acquired data. ION identified six prospects with total Pmean unrisked recoverable resources of 522 million barrels of oil. Stratigraphic Lead #5 is the largest with approximately 231 million barrels of oil. Lead #6 is slightly smaller but exceeds 229 million barrels of oil.

In addition to 522 million barrels of recoverable oil resources, ION identified six pockets with total Pmean unrisked recoverable resources of 583 billion cubic feet (“BCF”) of unrisked carbane methane gas within Oil Block 2113A.

Following these developments, Nabirm completed the requisite scoping and definition activities for its 3D Controlled Source Electro Magnetics (CSEM) technical work program on Block 2113A.

Right Place, Right Time, Right Asset

On January 16, 2015, Upstream magazine published an article about the completion of Nabirm’s 2D geotechnical program.  Upstream is a UK-based trade magazine for the global oil and gas industry. The Upstream article called Nabirm a “minnow” in the oil and gas world.

The recent Neumaier and Wanke report is expected to favorably impact Nabirm’s prospects for recoverable oil resources. It also enhances the company’s position in the upstream oil and gas industry. 

This is a new and exciting time for Nabirm. The company’s oil block is surrounded by Exxon, Galp, Tullow, ONGC Videsh, and Eco Atlantic. Other international oil giants like Total and Shell are exploring oil blocks in Namibia in the Orange Basin.

Nabirm is situated in the right place, at the right time, with the right asset.

PHOTO: Logo for Nabirm, a Birmingham and Namibian based energy services company.

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