Test drilling for oil in Namibia’s Okavango region poses toxic risk
The petroleum exploration company ReconAfrica doesn’t appear to have taken what experts say is a key step to prevent contamination of groundwater.
The Canadian oil and gas company ReconAfrica began exploratory drilling in Namibia upstream of the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta in January. According to the company’s aerial imagery and an independent review, they don’t appear to have taken what experts say is an environmentally responsible measure to protect the local water supply from contamination.
Namibia is a water-scarce country, and when news of the company’s project became more widespread, communities expressed concern that contaminants from drilling would seep into shallow aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation for crops.
Conservationists also worry that contamination from the test drilling could affect wildlife in the vicinity—elephants, Temminck’s ground pangolins, African wild dogs, martial eagles—and in the UNESCO-recognized Okavango