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Receiving the news that your backyard may hold the world’s largest untapped offshore oil reserves can be a confidence boost par excellence. Not only would it draw the attention of energy-hungry economies such as the US and China, but it would also raise the prospect of rapidly filling state coffers.

Namibia, a nation of just 2.4-million people, recently learnt that exploration for hydrocarbons off its southwest coast may well yield this sizeable bonanza. Norwegian specialist energy and oil publication Upstream Oil & Gas Technology  reported on April 26 that UK-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates the recoverable oil reserves at more than 3-billion barrels. At an oil price of $106 on May 3, that relates to a resource worth $318bn — or almost 30 times the size of Namibia’s nominal 2020 GDP in dollars. ..

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