In February 2022, Shell safely completed drilling its first exploration well (Graff-1) in PEL 0039, located offshore southern Namibia. Dennis Zekveld, Shell’s Country Chair in Namibia, made the following comment on the initial results: “We’re very encouraged by the early results from the deep-water Graff-1 exploration well, which established a working petroleum system and the presence of light oil. Over the coming months, we’ll need to conduct further evaluation of the well results, and additional exploration activity, in order to determine the size and recoverable potential of the hydrocarbons that were identified.”

In April 2022, Shell made a second Orange Basin discovery in the La Rona-1 prospect in PEL 0039, where the well confirmed hydrocarbon pay at multiple levels. Marc Gerrits, Shell’s Executive Vice President Exploration, commented as follows: “The safe and successful execution of these back to back exploration wells in a short timeframe is a testament to the strong performance of this partnership. We look forward to continued close collaboration with our JV partners - NAMCOR and QatarEnergy - and the Government of Namibia on the next steps.” Dennis Zekveld added: “I am very pleased to report that both the Graff-1 and the La Rona-1 exploration wells have concluded safely. We are encouraged by the early results and will continue to work at pace to determine commerciality.” Further drilling in PEL 0039 is anticipated to start towards the end of 2022.


  • Shell is the Operator of PEL 0039 with a 45% working interest, together with QatarEnergy (45%) and NAMCOR (10%). PEL 0039 covers approximately 12,000 km² in deep water offshore Namibia.
  • Exploration remains a vital part of Shell’s Upstream business, which plays a pivotal role in delivering the energy needs of today, along with providing the funding necessary to support our dividend and investment into our growth businesses.
  • Frontier exploration is a multi-phase endeavour and in a success case usually takes a number of years to produce first commercial hydrocarbons.

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