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Skeleton Of Dry Holes Past

Namibia, along the Skelton Coast of Western Africa, had numerous unsuccessful onshore exploration efforts made in it in the early 1960's before the significant "Kudu" gas field was discovered offshore in shallow water, in 1973.

Apparently some dry holes are harder to stomach than others (indeed, I can attest to that) and there was no 'RDMO' on the daily drilling reports after this well was dry holed. This was just a 'to hell with it and adios' sort of thing and 45 years later these striking images are all that remains.

Blowing sand over the decades has almost covered the steel pits ... sandblasted the dog house plum away.

There are interesting theories involving "connected" sediment basins off Namibia's coast and Exxon's new discoveries off Ghana on the East Coast of South America, a buried land bridge, so to speak, so Namibia is getting a lot of 3D data shot in its offshore waters and it has two new deepwater prospects scheduled for spudding in the next two years.

For now, however, this rig is but a rusting relic, a monument of failed hope to Namibia's onshore resource potential.

Straight from a Mad Max movie; is this the future of fossil fuels?


Namibia is a beautiful country as I have had the privilege of visiting it. The country has rare, wild dog packs with fascinating social structures, gemsbok with body temperatures of 120 F (that can run 40 MPH!) and the Bushmen of the Kalahari are reported to be the first people of the entire African continent.

The abandoned rig in this photo essay is located in what is now a national park, otherwise no one is allowed pretty much anywhere along the Skeleton Coast of West Africa because of its extensive diamond mines. If found casually walking along the beach in mine concessions of Namibia you are shot, dead, then taken in for questioning, where they'll REALLY go to work on you.

Mike Shellman

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