Botswana: Govt. defends awarding of 4-year exploration license on gas and oil despite concerns around the region
‘Minister Defends Oil And Gas Exploration In Okavango’ 28 February 2021
Despite growing concerns about the future of the Okavango Delta regarding petroleum exploration activity around the region, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, insists the activities will take place in the delta and Tsodilo heritage sites. In June last year, a Canadian junior oil and gas company, Reconnaissance Energy Africa or Recon Africa announced that it has been granted a petroleum license in north-western Botswana for 2.45 million acres (9,921 km2). The move by the government of Botswana has attracted backlash from environmentalists with fears that such activities will temper with the Okavango ecosystem.
…According to Lefoko, the company has been awarded a four-year exploration license with no physical activity during the period. “They will be doing desktop activities in the first two years before they arrive at a point where they need to get underground which would be subject to the result of EIA,” said Lefoko. Meanwhile, Lefoko said hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is not allowed in Botswana after concerns have been raised that Recon Africa will carry out its mining activities through this process.
…Besides holding an exploration license in Botswana, Recon Africa started exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the North-Eastern region of Namibia which forms part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). Lefoko said Botswana will learn from Namibia’s drilling activities and emphasized that life around the prospecting area would have to co-exist with these operations. Efforts to get a comment from Recon Africa drew a blank after the company spokesperson, Claire Preece had not responded to The Voice enquires two weeks later.