In 2011 and the start of 2012 there were significant oil discoveries in pre-salt layers of Gabon and Angola. This caught the attention of many external businesses that then started to focus on Namibia’s own pre-salt zones.  Since then the lack of oil discoveries has posed the question what is next for West-African pre-salt?

What does pre-salt exactly mean? According to rigzone, “pre-salt” derives from the accumulation of ore that is positioned offshore and because of this accumulation a rock interval is created which ranges under a widespread layer of salt. Depths can equate up to 23.000 feet and the thickness of the salt can amount to 6.500 feet.

Until now pre-salt zones were predominantly found in a large portion of the Brazilian coastline, including the Santos Basin however, today companies are convinced that off the west coast of Africa pre-salt zones can be found. The theory as to why is because prior to the Atlantic Ocean opening up more than 100 million years ago the Namibian Basin lay adjacent to the Santos Basin.

Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd. Is a junior explorer and in 2012 the firm invested in the Namibian Basin with the intention to discover pre-salt in two wells they were operating. Disappointedly they were unsuccessful with both. In the first well, after drilling to a depth of roughly 16,000 feet the firm failed to discover commercial hydrocarbons and with regards to the second well, besides coming across a good source of rock and hydrocarbon the well was dry.  Since these let downs, Chariot has undergone 3D seismic data acquisition over several blocks in Namibia’s offshore central zone. Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy has allowed for a one year extension for the exploration on these Central Area Blocks.

An update in May form Chariot reflected that the firm was successful in locating prospects within both the shallower and deeper petroleum systems in the Central Area. Adding to this the company is focusing its efforts in the shallower areas due to third-party results which have de-risked the deeper petroleum system. Even though Chariot is investing in Namibia’s pre-salt there is still vast room and potential for additional firms to get involved.