Namibia expects more oil prospectors to follow Shell

Namibia's government said Tuesday it would soon accept more major oil companies into the country, a day after Shell announced it had bought two offshore blocks.

Petroleum commissioner Immanuel Mulunga told AFP the government was in the process of approving the arrival of two more, as yet unnamed international oil firms, amid the clamour to make the country's first major oil find.

Mulunga said the arrival of Shell would be a confidence boost for the sector and could act as a magnet for other international oil companies.

"For Shell to decide to return means that they have a lot of confidence in finding oil in Namibia. It is also a boost for Namibia," he told AFP.

The Southern African country announced on Monday that Shell Exploration and Production bought into two blocks, 2913A and 2914B off the southwest coast of the country.

Shell is not new to Namibia. In 2002, Shell said it was pulling out of the Kudu gas project due to poor drilling results.

Offshore exploration began in the late 1960's in Namibia and resulted in major gas finds, but so far no oil.

Brazilian oil firm HRT last year said finding large quantities of crude in Namibia is only "a matter of time", specifically pointing to the Orange Basin as an area with good source geology.

The petroleum commissioner could not confirm the total planned drills this year but said interest has increased after last year's HRT announcement of finding non-commercial oil.

Other companies with energy exploration licenses in Namibia include Spain's Repsol and Petrobras.

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