Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo opened a Namibia country spotlight during the first day of African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 – the biggest gathering of energy stakeholders and policymakers on the continent and organized by the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) – in Cape Town on 17 October with a keynote speech. The Minister delivered an update on Namibia’s latest oil and gas discoveries and green hydrogen progress while showcasing numerous investment opportunities cropping up across the country.
“In relation to the energy transition, our green hydrogen strategy is one of the most important activities that we are carrying out. It is our mission to become a world-class green hydrogen hub,” Minister Alweendo stated, adding “With our new discoveries made this and last year, we are on the cusp of something special. It is our intention to manage our oil and gas sector to transform our economy. We are set to introduce a lot of market policies to ensure that in-country, value is being generated from these oil and gas resources.”
Representing one of Africa’s most exciting exploration frontiers, the Invest in Namibia Energies session – sponsored by the Namibia International Energy Conference – featured an impressive slate of policymakers and company executives who provided an in-depth insight into the region’s upstream exploration opportunities.
“The future of the world starts with Africa; one of the richest continents in the world,” stated Dr. Marcio Rocha Mello, President of petroleum system modeling company, Brazil Petroleum Systems, adding, “The future of Namibia is unique.”
“In terms of technology, we’ve been acquiring seismic surveys through Namibia over a period of 20 years,” stated Chris Drage, Senior Vice President of Sales at seismic acquisition company, PGS, adding, “The criticality is that we work together to ensure vessels are here and that they stay in this part of Africa as we start to more efficiently source data together.”
Namibia’s energy sector has seen rapid development in a short period of time owing to five recent major oil and gas discoveries, which include the Venus-1X, Graff-1X, Jonker-1X, La Rona-1X, and Lesedi-1X exploration projects. In all, an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil reserves have been discovered offshore Namibia, putting the country on par with its northern neighbor and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer, Angola.
“Attracting investment follows the results that we see. Everything is much bigger and much better than expected when we were exploring,” stated Petroleum Commissioner for the Minister of Mines and Energy of Namibia, Maggy Shino, adding, “We are therefore in a space where we are looking for bigger financial muscles and companies with more strength to help us take this forward.”
Hampered by a lack of exploration efforts until recent years, Namibia has largely been overlooked by oil majors. However, on the back of these major discoveries having been made in the offshore Orange Basin and onshore Kavango Basin in 2022 and 2023, the country is due for a significant oil boom in the coming years.
“We recognize that during exploration, there are carbon emissions, which gives us the opportunity to create a robust Environment, Social and Governance strategy, which is effectively where we are,” stated Shiwana Ndeunyema, Acting Managing Director for Namibia’s National Oil Company (NOC), Namcor.
With regards to the country’s immense oil potential and local content development, Channa Kurukulasuriya, Country Manager for oil and gas supermajor, Chevron, stated “Chevron is committed to developing local content. Ultimately, the objective is creating the capacity in-country to have a robust oil and gas industry.”
“We have trained in excess of 360 Namibians with varying degrees,” stated Nillian N. Mulemi, CEO for the Governmental program, Petrofund, adding, “We have further provided specialized training in oil and gas for more than 60 Namibians. 40% of them are with the NOC and nearly all the experts you speak to at the NOC with oil and gas expertise comes from funding from Petrofund.”
The Government of Namibia has sought to engage multinational firms to compete for multi-billion-dollar projects in the country. While still in the exploration stage, the southern African country is poised to benefit from its immense hydrocarbon potential through the exploration and development of oil and gas fields, its transportation and storage, and eventual refining of petroleum products for export to international markets.
“We need to address cost of capital,” stated Margaret Nutschler, Vice President for Project Development at renewable energy developer, CWP Global, adding, “When we want to bring investment, we need to find a way to bring cost of capital down.”
“In Africa, people don’t necessarily like parting ownership with their companies, so what we’ve created is called transactional equity, where you do a transaction with us without losing any of your company,” stated Ejike Egbuagu, CEO for trade finance and services company, Moneda Invest Group.
Meanwhile, on the gas front, oil and gas exploration company, ReconAfrica, announced in June 2023 an updated prospective resource estimate of 22.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Namibia’s onshore PEL 73 license area in the Kavango Basin.
“Gas demand will follow supply,” stated Dr. Klaus Endressen, General Manager for engineering company and operator of the Kudu Conventional Gas Field, BW Offshore, adding, “We have companies coming to us saying they would like to establish beneficiation initiatives if Namibia has the energy, and we are on track to have first gas-to-power from Kudu in 2027.”
In addition to the country’s sizeable oil and gas discoveries, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has also launched a major green hydrogen project to harness the country’s resources and diversify the economy. Minister Alweendo is working closely with global players to create a green hydrogen hub in Namibia which will allow new businesses and stakeholders to set up large scale projects within the market.
“There’s a multitude of hydrogen projects in Namibia, but the biggest question is, is the supply chain capable to meet the opportunity and is the demand ready to meet other forms of hydrogen production?” prompted James Mnyupe, Presidential Economic Advisor and Hydrogen Commissioner for the Government of Namibia.
The session closed with the panel discussing Namibia’s renewable energy potential, highlighting the country’s role in the global energy transition.
“Namibia is very progressive,” stated Ndapqilapo Selma Shimutwiken, CEO of strategic advisory firm, RichAfrica Consultancy, adding, “We are one of the few countries in the world where our environment is protected by the constitution.”
The Invest in Namibia Energies country spotlight represents just one of many spotlights set to take place during this year’s edition of AEW. #AEW2023 takes place this week in Cape Town under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030. Keep following www.AECWeek.com for more exciting information and updates about Africa’s premier energy event.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.