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Why drill in one of the world’s last wild places?

Mar 29, 2023

“The Okavango Delta is where the human story began,” one local safari guide told Rolling Stone contributor Jeff Goodell. “And now a bunch of Canadian drillers want to f#%@k it up to make a quick buck.”


Will an oil racket destroy one of Africa’s most sacred places?

On Sunday, Rolling Stone published a nearly 10-page exposé on the unscrupulous financial operations of Canadian oil company ReconAfrica, which is exploring for oil in the Okavango River Basin — one of the most important places for biodiversity on the planet and home to one of the oldest cultures on Earth. This article comes on the heels of the latest IPCC report which emphasizes the immediate need to transition away from fossil fuels in order to avoid climate change catastrophes that will disproportionately affect communities like those in the Okavango River Basin.
The story provides a rare inside look into oil investor calls and strategy that show how ReconAfrica is working the stock market to line their own pockets and the pockets of their investors while the concerns of Namibia’s impoverished local communities are being ignored. It also details how ReconAfrica has spent millions on promoting disinformation and fake news to investors to bolster their stock value, even as their wells turned up nothing and geologists say there is no oil in the region for ReconAfrica to find.

* Stand with the communities of the Okavango River Basin*
Sign the open letter Support Okavango activists in Namibia & Botswana

They ripped through a protected wilderness to find oil. Instead, they found trouble. Today, National Geographic published an article corroborating the Rolling Stone article above.

“In 2022, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) drilled another ‘duster’—an industry term for an unproductive well. So far, all three of its test wells have failed to indicate the presence of commercially extractable oil. The company’s stock price has plummeted, lawsuits are ongoing on two continents, and a cash shortage may force it to cease operations,” writes Jeffrey Barbee and Laurel Neme. In a series of eight articles since October 2020, National Geographic details ReconAfrica’s public ambitions for what the company’s leaders still claim is a huge oil “play,” its ongoing drilling and seismic explorations, and its numerous alleged circumventions of Namibian regulations and law. The reports show how the company allegedly didn’t adequately consult with local communities about the full drilling plan as required by Namibian law as well as several other violations of law and trust.

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