OIL AND GAS DISCOVERY IN NAMIBIA; KENYAN STARTUP PROVIDES AN AFFORDABLE ALTERNATIVE TO HAZARDOUS BIOMASS COOKING FUELS WITH AFFORDABLE ETHANOL STOVES

On Tuesday, January 25, oil giant Shell announced the discovery of a substantial offshore oil and gas well in Namibia. Early analysis of the exploratory drilling estimates that the newly discovered well could contain 250 to 300 million barrels of oil and gas, but Shell remains undecided whether it will develop an offshore oil platform, which would be the country’s first deep-water oil field. Nonetheless, Reuters suggests the discovery of oil and gas could initiate inflows of investment into the country, which is not currently a fossil fuel producer.

In related news, KOKO Networks, an alternative cooking fuel startup with operations in Kenya, announced on Wednesday, January 26, that it is planning to expand its operations to six additional African countries and accelerate production of its clean fuel stoves, with the ultimate aim of manufacturing 5 million stoves annually. In a bid to replace charcoal and wood fuel for cooking, which is a leading factor of deforestation and respiratory disease in Africa, the startup manufactures affordable ethanol stoves for cooking. Each stove costs approximately 2,000 Kenyan shillings ($18). In addition, according to KOKO CEO Greg Murray, the ethanol fuel used in the stoves, which is synthesized from sugar-production byproducts, is 40 percent less expensive than charcoal. KOKO currently services more than 300,000 Kenyan homes.

Extracted in full from: Africa in the news: Major oil and gas discovery in Namibia; coup d’état in Burkina Faso; and COVID update (brookings.edu)

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