• Michael Dynes

Aziza Project tells London Blockchain Live conference of ambition to ‘light up Africa’

Aziza Project CEO Robert Pyke yesterday told the annual ‘Blockchain Live’ conference at London’s Olympia that it plans to raise $60 million to finance a ten-well drilling programme on a 22,000-square kilometre concession in search of hydrocarbons in Namibia in southwest Africa as early as next year.

The Aziza fund-raising vehicle, which owns 20% of Africa-focused oil & gas explorer Africa New Energies (ANE) – the owner of the Namibian concession – is on the threshold of launching its private sale to high net worth investors, with a public sale ICO expected to follow in the final quarter of the year.

Aziza’s fund-raising initiative coincides with a marked increase in exploration in the Southern African region in recent weeks with commencement of drilling in offshore petroleum licence 37 (PEL 37) by London-listed Tullow Oil in September, and renewed drilling by Chariot Oil & Gas in PEL 71 in October.

The Aziza CEO was among 120 speakers and presenters at the packed-out Olympia event in West London where a dizzying array of start-ups and established players in the fintech and cryptocurrency space laid out their expansion plans.

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Robert Pyke presenting at Blockchain Live

Pyke told the audience that the profits from Aziza’s asset-based security token – the Aziza coin – would be for the sole benefit of token holders, as the ultimate shareholder of the Aziza Project is a not-for-profit foundation in the Isle of Man.

The geology of southern Africa ‘remains largely unknown’

The Aziza CEO told the conference that the geology of southern Africa remains “largely unknown,” adding: “Some 20,000 wells have been sunk in North Africa, and 15,000 sunk in West Africa, only a few dozen have been sunk in Southern Africa, which has the potential to become a new hydrocarbons frontier.”

Pyke said that while Namibia was widely perceived to be a remote location for oil and gas exploration, it was nonetheless endowed with first-class infrastructure, including tarmac roads to the key ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz, and road and rail access to South Africa’s main refineries in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Pre-drilling exploration suggests that the Namibian concession has a prospective – but not yet proven – resource of some 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, at a location that ancient geology indicates was a seabed some 630 million years ago. Reports of hydrocarbon seeps by local communities reinforces this evidence.

The discovery of oil and or gas in Namibia would be used to increase electricity generation in the power-hungry country, which would generate new revenue streams that could be harnessed to provide solar power to the two-thirds of the country’s population that currently do not have access to the grid – a strategy that could be replicated across the African continent.

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